boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Nick Cafardo Super Bowl chat from Jacksonville -- Jan. 31, 2005


Funk:Q: Hey Nick, great job. Does the talk leading up to this game remind you at all of what happened when we played the Rams? All the talk about an upcoming dynasty, not giving the opponent enough credit...
Nick_Cafardo:Sort of. Sure. Everything eventually connects, doesn't it? I think the Patriots are giving Philly credit, but nobody seems to think Philly has a chance. Right now I'm thinking a Patriots blowout, but I'm sure my score will be much closer by the end of the week. Maybe 21-17 something like that.
Gunther_Lou:Q: Does it look like T.O. will be playing for the Eagles? Do you feel the Pats secondary matches up well with the Eagle receivers whether T.O. is in the lineup or not?
Nick_Cafardo:I think T.O. is playing. If he's 70-80 percent, I think that's good enough. I would say if Owens plays and he's effective, he creates problems for the Patriots secondary. He's an extraordinary receiver. His size alone creates mismatches, and he's a big-play guy. He wants to make the big play, and he loves to make younger DBs look bad. Having said that, the Patriots seem to stop everybody. I'm sure they'll zone up and use Harrison to rough him him up a bit. But he's not easily intimidated.
PatsFan70:Q: Who has the edge? Pats receivers or Eagles secondary?
Nick_Cafardo:Great question. I think Patriots receivers run the best routes in the league. even though Philly has the all pro guys, I'd say NE's receivers will just do things so fundamentally sound, they create openings out there.
BruceBottomFeeder:Q: Nick, any complaints about Jacksonville?
Nick_Cafardo:I've always liked Jacksonville. been here many times. No complaints.
jbs:Q: How do you expect the Pats to contain Westbrook - will the use a DB or a LB to get him coming out of the backfield?
Nick_Cafardo:Every body refers to the Super Bowl game plan against St. Louis when McGinest was knocking Faulk down every chance he got. I doubt they would repeat something so obvious, so I'm guessing they'll use a combination of LB's and maybe even a corner to cover him. If Owens isn't in there, Westbrook really is the guy they have to stop so they'll have a quick guy like a Randall Gay or Samuel on him part of the time.
McG:Q: Nick, any info on why PK Sam got suspended?
Nick_Cafardo:Not yet. Trying to work on it.
Tom_Brady_Jr:Q: I have seen Russ Hochstein at FB, will that continue Sunday?
Nick_Cafardo:It all depends on how well they think Seymour is progressing. I don't know if they want to limit him to situations or whether he can perform his usual number of duties. It is the biggest and final game, so if Seymour can, he will be the short yardage fullback.
BIGT:Q: Can Belichick rattle confuse the new/improved McNabb? Also, can I sleep on your hotel room floor, there's nothing to rent down there.
Nick_Cafardo:I'm thinking he can, but every time I say it, people from Philly and NFC media jump down my throat and tell me this is the new, improved McNabb and there's no way he'll rattle him. I'm sticking to my guns. even if he makes one prime time mistake, that could be enough to sink the Eagles. No roomies please.
Mac:Q: Will Dillon have more success running against the Eagles than he did vs Pitts?
Nick_Cafardo:I think so. Dillon will likely get off some bigger gains with Philly def. coordinator Jim Johnson sends his blitzes. Those guys tend to over-pursue, which should leave Dillon with some space.
Bradyfan:Q: Do you think that Brady will finally get the respect he deserves from the media, if he walks away with MVP again or will they just think it's still a 'fluke'?
Nick_Cafardo:Brady gets all the respect he deserves now. Even he thinks he gets too much attention. When you discuss the Patriots the two names you here are Brady and Belichick. He's already compared to Montana and Aikman. Is there more respect out there that hasn't come his way?
555:Q: Would it be a mistake to compare the Eagles as a better version of the Seattle Seahawks?
Nick_Cafardo:No. Your opinion is never a mistake. The Eagles are a much better version. Seattle is a relatively young team. their receivers drop balls. McNabb is more consistent than Hasselbeck. The Eagles' defense is far better.
msquared:Q: NIck, in regards to F. Mitchell - do the Pats really need that extra motivation? They seem to be so well preapred and focused on the task at hand that it wouldn't seem to matter what the opponent has to say.
Nick_Cafardo:Of course they don't need it. I'm a little surprised the Patriots keep making such a big deal out of it. Enough already. I'm surprised Harrison and McGinest are still talking about it.
ceo_billB:Q: Why does the press always seem to be looking to make a "bad guy" out of a non-situation - case in point Corey Dillon last year for wanting to win and TO this year for wanting to play!?
Nick_Cafardo:In Dillon's case, he walked off the field one time and also threw his pads into the stands. I think the other guys on the Bengals wanted to win, too. I don't care how badly you want to win and how frustrated you are. You still have to act appropriately. I don't know how other media people about Owens, but I think it's great that he's willing to risk his career to play in a Super Bowl. I have nothing but praise for Owens.
Gus:Q: Will Richard Seymour play Sunday?
Nick_Cafardo:I think he will.
Ronbo:Q: Where would you rank Philly in the NFL? 2nd or would they be behind Indy and/or Pittsburgh?
Nick_Cafardo:I thought they were behind Pittsburgh for sure and Indy, maybe. Again, people are telling me Philly's better than Indy and some believe they are more balanced than Pittsburgh. I need to be convinced of that.
Jack:Q: Hi Nick... love the mailbag, PLEASE do a pre-Draft edition this year... my question: if you're running the Eagles' defense, how would YOU attack the Pats?
Nick_Cafardo:I blitz Brady, and I think Jim Johnson will. You've got to get pressure on him and make him throw the ball away or make a mistake. Otherwise, he'll sit back there and even though the Eagles have all those Pro Bowlers back there, Brady will kill them. I will say this: the Patriots handled that Steelers zone blitz pretty well.
timewilltell:Q: With the Patriots success, there have been a few stories speculating on who'd be a Hall of Famer on the team. In your opinion, who's Hall-worthy?
Nick_Cafardo:Adam Vinatieri. Tom Brady. Maybe Ty Law. As time goes by, I wonder if a case could be made for a McGinest. Obviously, Belichick. I think Robert Kraft.
stanley_morgan:Q: Hey Nick ... any word on the ESPN report that Romeo Crennel is going to be offered the Browns head coaching job on Sunday night? Any chance at all that he stays here after this season?
Nick_Cafardo:Romeo has been hired (in the minds of Phil Savage and the ownership) for weeks now. I know they're not waiting for Philly o-coordinator Brad Childress. It's Romeo's job. I don't think Romeo would stay. Crazier things have happened, I guess. But given that the Patriots don't pay their coaches much money, and the fact that when your name is called, especially at age 57, you need to respond to the call.
Drew_Who:Q: Nick, I am of the opinion that only the Patriots can beat the Patriots. If they minimize mistakes and penalties--shouldn't they win easily?
Nick_Cafardo:Yes. Yes. Yes. Great point. When's the last time they shot themselves in the foot? The Miami game. The first Pittsburgh game. Those situations are few and far between. If they play mistake free, they win the game. If Philly plays mistake free, I don't know if they win the game.
unemployable:Q: Nick, has the NFL begun to recognize web bloggers and issue press passes to these guys?
Nick_Cafardo:Yes. Boston.com has press passes. The major national websites have press credentials. I'm not sure what the size of the website has to be, but I see more and more of them.
Bakerman:Q: What kind of role do you think the Pats TE's will play?
Nick_Cafardo:I tend to think blocking. With the eagles known for their blitzing, the Patriots might have to provide a little help for Gorin or Light on Jevon Kearse. You might see Graham and Fauria has red zone targets, but I'm not sure we'll see too much of the tight end wide open over the middle of the field.
TUPA:Q: If the Patriots lose, will that tarnish any of the greatness they have achieved up to this point?
Nick_Cafardo:No, not at all. everybody thinks they have to win three out of four because only the Cowboys have done it, but I disagree. I look at this as 10-year window. Let's see what they do over a decade. In no way does a loss mean they're not going to be dynasty.
Doc_Football:Q: Nick - Which player needs to step up for the Pats to win?
Nick_Cafardo:If Owens is out there, it's going to fall on Asante Samuel. This kid has been terrific all year. He's not the biggest guy, but he's a leaper and he's got his hands near the ball all of the time.
whigham25:Q: Is there a more underrated player on the Pats right now than Kevin Faulk. He had some injuries this year, but all he does is make plays.
Nick_Cafardo:You're right. Kevin is an underrated player and underrated person. Great guy to have on a team. he has a lot of the same qualities as a Troy brown. he's very unselfish. Very smart guy.
TUPA:Q: Do you feel the Pats will try and mix it up with people playing bigger roles in their offense (like Patrick Pass) - he rules!
Nick_Cafardo:I think they always try to do that. You mention another guy that is unheralded - Pass. This is a guy who was a halfback and he's had to gain some weight so he can play as a fullback. He's a nice weapon. I'm hoping Troy Brown is used more as well. He's a big play guy and he gets up for these big situations.
eaglesphan:Q: Nick, you all can't really believe that the Eagles, who won each game by almost double digits and have a better secondary than the Steelers have no chance. Or do you?
Nick_Cafardo:I wouldn't say no chance. I would never say that. I've just watched this Patriots team in the biggest games and they always find a way to win. Maybe I'm too close to it. But let me say this, I'd be surprised to see the Eagles beat them.
DaveCols:Q: What is Belichick's contract status? Will he soon be the highest paid coach in the history of the NFL?
Nick_Cafardo:He goes through the '06 season averaging about 4.2 million which is in the top 10, but hardly at the top. I'm guessing either talks have begun for an extension or they will after the Super Bowl. I don't think the Krafts would want to pay someone the most money. That would not be in keeping with the team philosophy. It wouldn't be a good thing if Belichick made more money than any coach, but Tom Brady didn't make more money than any QB.
Mitch:Q: Nick, it bugs me that Charlie Weis never got his due in the NFL. If he hadn't put his hat into the Notre Dame search, do you think he would have landed an NFL job this off-season... and where do you think?
Nick_Cafardo:I have to believe he would have gotten the SF job or the Cleveland job. The NFL is about to lose one of the most creative offensive minds in NFL history.
NHdude:Q: Is there a chance Ty Law's contract can be reworked, or will Law want too much money to stay next season?
Nick_Cafardo:There’s a chance it could be re-worked, but it would have to be to Ty’s liking. Ty definitely believes he can earn top dollar in the open market and won’t sell himself short. It all depends at this point in time where he sees his career going. I think he’d love to stay with NE and be considered the greatest Patriots corner ever (though I’m not sure he’ll ever achieve that status after watching Mike Haynes play there). That’s important to Ty. But he’s a proud guy and he feels he’s the best, or one of the best at his position.
Footey:Q: It seems the biggest knock on the Patriot's greatness is that their talent doesn't compare with the other dynasties, or they don't win in blow-outs. I think this makes them even more special, more gutsy. Thoughts?
Nick_Cafardo:But we know they have incredible talent. They have a bunch of former No. 1 draft picks, pro bowlers, future Hall of Famers, you name it. They're also able to re-tool every year, which the other dynasties couldn't do. They've added great players like Dillon, Harrison, Colvin to the mix. It's a different era, a different set of circumstances. They're great in their own right.
BostonDotCom:Thanks Nick, and thanks everyone for joining in. Nick will chat later this week from Jacksonville. Stay tuned to boston.com for details.
Sponsored Links