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Patriots chat transcript -- the Globe's Jerome Solomon

September 20, 2005

Jerome_Solomon:Welcome all, let's have some fun
scooter:Q: What changes do you see- if any - at linebacker? The Pats have to begin shutting down the run.
Jerome_Solomon:The run defense has been decent the first two games, so there is unlikely to be any changes there for now ...
Jerome_Solomon:The problems against the run may have been overblown, Monty beisel has played well the first two games and Chad Brown should get better as he learns the defense
Bonequark:Q: Jerome, Bill is not given to tirades when his team plays poorly, but behind the scenes he must be angry at the effort?
Jerome_Solomon:Without a doubt Belichick was not pleased with the mistakes his squad made Sunday, particularly mental lapses like false start penalties (six) and blown coverages on defense. A couple of players told me he gave them a bit of a dressing down for those mistakes.
benniemill:Q: why don't the Pats ever send Graham & Watson on deep patterns ? it seems like opponents safeties are really crowding the line of scrimmage and would be vulnerable to tight end deep routes.
Jerome_Solomon:Bennie, that is something you can expect to see during the season, particularly from Benjamin Watson, who is perhaps the fastest tight end in the league. But the Patriots aren't going to force anything ...
Jerome_Solomon:Typically, it takes special situations to open the door for a tight end to get free down the seam. Against Carolina, the tight ends were often kept home to block because the Panthers ran such an array of blitzes.
Fred:Q: The Pats have used big plays early to beat the Steelers in the past. Do you see that continuing on Sunday?
Jerome_Solomon:That's the plan every week Fred. However, the other team has something to do with that ...
Jerome_Solomon:With the running game being so weak the first two weeks, look for the Pats to try to establish Corey Dillon on the ground in the early going. Of course, one way to free up the running game is to burn a defense with the passing game.
bigsimpfan:Q: the pats looked sloppy on Sunday, but still made it a close game against a good team. isn't this good news?
Jerome_Solomon:There is rarely ever good news in losing. Almost every game in the NFL is close.
StanleySteamer:Q: Jerome - Is there something wrong with Corey Dillon? He doesn't seem to be hitting the line very hard. Is the problem him or the run blocking?
Jerome_Solomon:And Carolina didn't even make the playoffs last year, plus were without their best defensive tackle Kris Jenkins
Jerome_Solomon:Corey came to camp in what he described as the best shape of his life, so there is nothing wrong physically (unless he has a hidden injury). On running plays, the blocking has been suspect, Corey has taken some ill-advised cuts and the Patriots have run into spots against blitzes that were designed to stop the run. There has been a combination of problems.
gman11:Q: Any idea what the Pats could do to improve Corey Dillon's performance other than block better?
Jerome_Solomon:Prayer won't work, so better blocking would be a good place to start ...
Jerome_Solomon:If Tom Brady and the receivers get on track, teams will have to back off a bit and that should open up the running game.
Fred:Q: Give us an idea of what the Pats locker room is like with the Steeler game looming. Are they viewing it as just another game - or a key early season, must-win type of game?
Jerome_Solomon:One thing about the Patriots that has helped them be so consistent is they take every game as a must-win game. New England has the NFL's logest streak of not losing two games in a row -dating to the 2002 season - so this week is big for them.
Jimy_R:Q: Hi Jerome, how do you see the defensive backfield for the Pitt game? Starks and Samuel and any news on the status of Chad Scott or Ty Poole? Thanks JR-Boston
Jerome_Solomon:The Pats are tight-lipped on injuries, but my best guess is Gay is definitely out. He couldn't even put weight on his foot yesterday. Tyrone Poole is probably out as well, and if he plays, he won't be 100 percent ...
Jerome_Solomon:Chad Scott looks like he's ready to go, and you know he would love to take the field against his former team, so expect him to be back. Duane Starks played against Carolina, and he'll probably start against the Steelers.
ATlewis:Q: Why haven't we seen much of anything from Roosevelt Colvin?
Jerome_Solomon:Rosevelt says he is healthy, but he hasn't made the type of plays he did before the hip injury ...
Jerome_Solomon:He is still learning how to play a different type of game, now that he isn't the same player physically, plus he isn't in full-time, so his opportunities are somewhat ...limited.
Jerome_Solomon:Look for him to improve thoughout the season.
Liri_Q:Q: In the past, no matter what happened, Patriots adjusted very well and corrected mistakes. Not in Carolina though. That didn't happen. Do you think Charlie and Romeo missing has something to do with it?
Jerome_Solomon:Both of those guys are missed, no doubt, but the mistakes made against Carolina (most of them, anyway) were ones that point to the players, not the coaching. False start penalties are inexcusable at this level ...
Jerome_Solomon:Of course Weis would have had some choice words for the offenders, so maybe that would have lit a fire under the team in the second half, but there's no way to measure that.
theGOAT:Q: Against the Steelers, if they Patriots are able to stifle their running attack, is Big Ben able to beat the Patriots with his arm alone?
Jerome_Solomon:Unlikely. He throws fewer passes than any starting quarterback in the league because the Steelers' running game is so good, and he is still learning how to play in the NFL. The formula has worked, but if the Patriots put the game on Big Ben's arm, they should win.
pghclive:Q: Will Chad Scott get owned by Hines Ward this week, or just leased with an option to own?
Jerome_Solomon:Now that's funny. I'll have to run that by Chad tomorrow. Ward is one of the toughest receivers in the game and a very physical player. Chad has some size, so he won't be pushed around easily. They know each other, as Chad played with the Steelers for the last eight years, so it should be fun to watch.
rr_2:Q: Jerome: Why does it feel like Tom Brady is really missing Charlie Wiess. Meaning, he does not seem comfortable making the passes or does he not trust the offensive play calling by Josh and the head coaching staff now...
Jerome_Solomon:There is no question that Brady hasn't been as sharp as he would like. Blaming that on not having Weis doesn't give Tom enough credit for what he's done the past few years ...
Jerome_Solomon:He'll tell you that the throws he has missed has nothing to do with the play that is called - when a guy is open, the QBs job it to get the ball to him. It may be too early to say Tom is having problems, but he seems to be like a golfer who's not hitting the ball very well right now.
ShiningWizard:Q: Do you think Belichick will use more screen passes to offset the O-line's liabilities in pass protection? It seemed to work great in the Super Bowl against Philly.
Jerome_Solomon:Credit the use of screens to game planning, and the Patriots are among the best in the league at that. But what works well against some teams, don't work so well against others. That said, I was surprised not to see more screens against Carolina, a heavy blitzing team. The one scree to Kevin Faulk was on of the best plays for the offense all day, and it's something the Patriots probabaly could have hit several times during the game.
D_Wayne_Johnson:Q: Jerome.. We haven't seen alot of Patrick Pass, is he injured?
Jerome_Solomon:He's fine. I talked to him yesterday. He's played on on the special teams, but he has always been a spot player on offense ...
Jerome_Solomon:Look for a little mor eof him during the season. He's not a bruising fullback, and the Patriots are not a two-back team. But with his pass-catching skills, he can be an important part of the offense.
Pete_Money:Q: Who will be starting in the secondary against Pittsburgh on Sunday?
Jerome_Solomon:Three starers are a given - Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson at safety, and Asante Samuel at corner. The other corner spot is probably going to be Duane Starks, because Tyrone Poole and Randall Gay are hurt. And don't be surprised if Starks manages to hold onto the the spot for some time, regardless of the injury situation.
tdogg:Q: What is the status for Miller this week? He's such a good punter and it would be a big blow to lose him.
Jerome_Solomon:His shoulder if OK. Fortunately he doesn't have much of an ego, because if he did, that bruise would have him out for a few weeks ...
Jerome_Solomon:he looked pretty weak trying to make a tackle, and admitted that he was injured by the ground. But he said yesterday that as long as he can catch snaps and drop the ball on his foot, he's OK to play.
Bonequark:Q: Jerome, you know this team better than most. What do you expect to see from them this Sunday?
Jerome_Solomon:A spirited effort, a low-penalty game and a better running attack. Victory? I don't know, but you'll see a much better team than you did on Sunday in Charlotte.
theGOAT:Q: come on, give us a prediction...1-2 or 2-1 after this Sunday?
Jerome_Solomon:Who am I Nostradamus??
Jerome_Solomon:The wind will blow, touchdowns will e scored ...
Jerome_Solomon:tackles will be made
Jerome_Solomon:The Patriots will ...
Jerome_Solomon:either win or lose
Jim-E:Q: What's wrong with Matt Light? He hasn't had this many penalties since his rookie year and it's only week 2.
Jerome_Solomon:Matt has been known to have a penalty every now and then. He's not playing as well as he would like, but he won't make any excuses for it. He has to play better. He was injured in training camp, but that isn't the reason he is off to a slow start. (Or if it is, he's not saying.)
JS_2:Q: jerome How do? Do you think the abscense of the Two Teds is going to show more and more as we move on in the season
Jerome_Solomon:How do?? What, are you from Texas? ...
Jerome_Solomon:Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson were very important to the team. Their understanding of the defense and the trust their teammates had in them is something the team can't replace. You are indeed correct that as we get deeper into the seaosn we'll see where their absence hurts. ...
Jerome_Solomon:Teams will attack the Patriots in the middle, something they learned couldn't be done with the Teds there. How will Monty Beisel and Chad Brown hold up under the pressure?
BostonDotCom:This next question will be the last one of the chat ...
mb:Q: Do you realistically see corey dillon finally getting the running game going against pitt this weekend?
Jerome_Solomon:One thing you can bet on is in the NFL, when something that is supposed to be a strength is described as a weakness, coaches and players will do whatever it takes to prove otherwise the next week. The more fans and media criticize the Patriots' running game, the more they will go out to prove that we are wrong ...
Jerome_Solomon:Pittsburgh is a physical team with a tough defense, but I bet the Patriots will answer the challenge and move the ball on the ground. ... I wouldn't bet my money, but I'd bet someone else's
Jerome_Solomon:Thanks for the questions and I look forward to y'all joining me again soon.

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