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Mike Reiss Patriots chat transcript

Jan. 19, 2007
Mike_ReissJust back from practice. Every player, including Rodney Harrison, was present. Going to get settled and then we'll roll.
hesh8Hi Mike, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the Pats lack of speed at the linebacking position. I think Manning will use the short passing game over the middle with Dallas Clark because Bruschi and Vrabel have lost a step or two. I think this is the game that exposes Bruschi's decline. Do you think Brushi will follow Tiki Barber and retire after this season? (he's a real family man) He has his Super Bowl rings, Pro Bowl appearance, and all the money he could want. Do you know his contract status? Who do you think the Pats have their eye on as a middle linebacker in the draft or free agency?
Mike_ReissIf Manning will take the short stuff, I think the Patriots will be OK with that. Don't disagree that the Patriots' linebackers aren't a fast group, but I also think they play physical and were are the heart of a defense that set the franchise record for fewest points allowed. I don't think it's as gloomy of an outlook as presented here. As for Bruschi's possible retirement, I haven't heard anything on that. His contrct runs through the 2007 season. Adding speed at linebacker will be a top priority in the offseason, whether in the draft or free agency.
NHPatsfanHey Mike...love your work...Are you surprised by all the so called experts picking the Colt's...they must really believe it's the Colt's so called destiny to win it all?? Thanks
Mike_ReissWho are the experts? I really don't believe there are any. What makes the NFL so great is that few people, if any, actually have any idea what is going to happen.
hesh8Hi Mike, I have been reading a lot lately about Brady/Belichick as one of the best coach player duos of all time, but we know everything has to come to an end. Montana/Walsh, Jackson/Jordan for instance. How long do you foresee Belichick as the coach of the Patriots? Do you see him as coach of the Giants some time in the future? I think if he was going to leave soon he wouldn't have traded Branch for a first round pick. Your thoughts.
Mike_ReissI've had the chance to get to know Belichick a little better this year, and I think one of the things that can get overlooked in this discussion is what makes him tick as a football coach. I don't think he values a new challenge -- and building a winner elsewhere -- as much as he likes the idea of sustained excellence in one place, over a long period of time. I could be way off on this, but that's my read on the man. I think he's here for the long-term, understanding that he two key elements in place -- a Hall of Fame quarterback and an owner who gives him a lot of leeway. Things can change fast in this business, but right now, I don't see the end in sight.
kruzyWhat are the keys of thing game coming out of Foxborough....what is the mood of the team going into this weeks matchup??
Mike_ReissThe three keys I listed were: control the tempo against the Colts' fast-break offense; play physical and disrupt the timing of the Colts' offense; win the turnover battle. As for the mood, I think the Patriots truly respect the Colts and the way they are playing right now. One player said something like "we usually pay lip service to teams, but this one is for real." Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but that struck me.
millieI am out of state and I have heard that the flu is now a big factor in the Patriots locker room? Any news of this, and if any of our key players will be out of the game Sunday?
Mike_ReissSome players, such as Troy Brown, Mike Wright and Ryan O'Callaghan are suffering from flu-like symptoms. It doesn't seem like a big deal. I expect all those players to suit up.
little_pioliDon't get me wrong, I am very excited about this years playoff run....But, do you have any thoughts on the patriots offseason plans. With the amount of money they have and with the offensive and defensive lines for the most part being set, if the patriots are aggressive in free agency (including signing Asante Samuel) and in the draft, they can potentially be a much better team next year...What do you think?
Mike_ReissI agree little_pioli. They have two first-round picks, which if their track record is any indication, are going to be contributors. Imagine adding players like Logan Mankins and Laurence Maroney to next year's team. I think the team is set up for sustained excellence.
pats42colts0Prediction on the game? Also, will Rodney Harrison play?
Mike_ReissI picked the Patriots, 24-23. When it came down to it, I couldn't pick against Tom Brady. I don't think Rodney Harrison will play.
estreetDoes Chad Jackson play a role on Sunday?
Mike_ReissAs I look through my crystal ball, and laugh at the comment from my colleague Ron Borges from yesterday's chat (he said Chad Jackson will have a "role" only at dinner), I would say yes. You get on turf, a fast surface, and you want your fast guys to at least have a few touches. Watch specifically on punt returns, where the Colts ranked 31st out of 32 teams during the regular season. Dare I predict Jackson take one back? That might be going too far, but I think he'll have an impact on at least one play.
indpatsfanWho will be the 'sleeper' who steps up and make the big plays? Will Gaffney and Caldwell continue their dream run?
Mike_ReissHow about Chad Jackson? He didn't play a snap last week, so he'd be my sleeper. If Laurence Maroney applies as a sleeper candidate, he'd be my next choice for a breakout performance.
Laurence_MaroneyHow many times am I going to handle the ball this week? I am looking for 175 yards between myself, Dillon and Faulk.
Mike_ReissHey Laurence_Maroney. Last game against the Colts, you only had 13 carries and 1 reception. The team had 33 rushes total. I expect the number to be around 20 carries on Sunday.
kyhadleyI don't think that the colts defense has really changed at all. The played an uncreative one-sided offense. And then a dead-beat QB and unexplosive offense. Both with power running backs. They haven't faced an explosive RB in Maroney, or a balance offense at all for that matter. Your thoughts?
Mike_ReissI see things a little differently on the Colts' defense. I think they've been excellent, and it's just as much about them as it is the Chiefs and Ravens. The stat that Belichick mentioned was that they are holding opponents to 3-of-22 success on third down. That is off the charts.
J-ADDAII am a little scared of trying to run up the middle this weekend, now that I hear that Seymour feels the best he has all year. Should I be worried ?
Mike_ReissJust stick with the patented stretch play J-ADDAI, and you should be fine. Not too many teams have had success stopping you, as evidenced by your 1,081 rushing yards on 226 carries during the regular season (4.8 avg.). I wouldn't alter your approach at all.
Danville_PatsIt was stunning to see the right side of the Pats Defense (Banta-Cain/Seymour combination on run plays and Hobbs on pass plays) get abused against the Chargers. Do you see Ben Utect spending all day pushing TBC around Reggie Wayne being the top target or do you see the Pats adjusting in some manner?
Mike_ReissBecause the Chargers run a totally different scheme than the Colts, I'd be hesitant to say we'll see a repeat of last week, when Banta-Cain was held off the stat sheet and Seymour had one tackle. The biggest thing the Colts do in the running game is a stretch play, where they run toward the sideline, try to seal blockers, and let the patient running back pick his hole in which to run. Banta-Cain will need to set the edge in the 3-4, assuming that's what the Patriots play, and I think he's capable. At the same time, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots mix it up with their alignments and schemes. This might be a game where it's better to have Jarvis Green on the field more, and less of Banta-Cain, which would mean more 4-3.
vtpatsfanHey Mike- Never too early for draft chat. One major mock draft has the Pats picking Samardzija in the first round. Good quality corners in college made this guy disappear. Your thoughts?
Mike_ReissI'd be surprised on that one. That would have to mean that all the linebackers and defensive backs with first-round grades were off the board.
Jerry_C No one has talked about Belichick's record against teams that beat him in their previous meeting. How much does his excellent record on that play into Sunday's AFC Championship Game?
Mike_ReissThis stat comes from the Patriots' media relations department: Since 2001, the Patriots are 19-6 (.760) when playing a team for the second time in a season and are 7-1 when facing an opponent against whom they had suffered a loss earlier in the same season. The Patriots have outscored their opponents 571-386 in their 21 rematches since 2001.
Belichek_in__08On a more serious note, with field position playing an important role in this game, and Adam V. not able to kickoff into the endzone, why don't we see more of Maroney on kick returns? He and Hobbs would be a great tandem....
Mike_ReissI think this is a great point, and it will happen. One special teams coach told me this week that he gives the special teams edge to the Patriots ... unless it comes down to a game-winning field goal. His feeling was that Vinatieri doesn't hit touchbacks. Gostkowski can more regularly. So I think kickoff returns will be a factor for the Patriots, and Maroney is the team's best weapon.
TroyBrownTeamMVPDo you think the Patriots will be able to pressure Manning with only their down linemen?
Mike_ReissAmazing stat from the last game, on Nov. 5: the Patriots hit Manning 12 times. That is a huge number for a quarterback who has been hit an average of 2.7 times per game, according to NFL official gamebooks. But the thing that happened was that Manning was up to the task. So, to me, that sets up the biggest question for the Patriots. Do they pressure Manning, hit him again, and hope lightning doesn't strike twice? Or do they focus their physical play on the receivers to disrupt the timing of the Colts' offense, and drop more players into coverage. If they want to, they can get to Manning, as we saw Nov. 5. The question is whether that is the effective way to disrupt the Colts' offense.
cut_that_meatWhen talking about key players/matchups for this game - do you think it's possible people are focusing on the wrong Sanders - Indy's Bob instead of NE's James?
Mike_ReissJames Sanders has played very well in Rodney Harrison's spot. But I think Bob Sanders is on a different level. A better player.
ScottyB_ComMike - I really thought we had a great shot a beating Baltimore to go to the SB as they had holes I thought we could exploit. Unfortunately that didn't come to pass. In watching the past two Colts playoff games and the regular season game against the Colts it has become apparent that they load nine men in the box and dare you to beat them down field. With this concept, it is like a run blitz every down. The outside receivers will have to play big and I believe play action will be a big weapon for us. What is your take? Would love to finally see C Jackson's speed on at least one fly pattern. None of our receivers have true break away speed accept for him which makes passes to the other receivers harder to complete because they have to be spot on just like the pass last week to Reche.
Mike_ReissI would agree with all of this ScottyB_Com. Thanks for the thoughts.
StayClassySanDiegoMike - Borges said in yesterday's chat that there's absolutely no way that Harrison will play this week. If that's true, are the Pats just messing with the Colts' game planning by letting him be seen in the media portion of practice?
Mike_ReissI think Harrison's presence is less about messing with the Colts, and more about what it does for the Patriots. Harrison is an infectious presence, he lifts his teammates up. If anything, that's what I think his time at practice has been about the last two days.
Pats010405Does the team strongly recommend that players get a flu shot? Just wondering with it hitting the team at a crucial time. Think it will affect the outcome of the game?
Mike_ReissI'm not sure about the flu shot; that's an interesting thought. I don't think the flu bug will affect the outcome of the game, but it has impacted preparations. Football players and coaches are creatures of habit and routine, and that routine was altered for those players who are a bit ill.
abtlr3Indy's message boards are in an uproar over the officials calling the game, are these refs apt to let the teams play?
Mike_ReissThe ref is Bill Carollo. But this isn't his crew, so there is no way to tell how the game will be called. At this stage of the playoffs, the NFL pieces together its crews by taking the top-rated officials at each position, while also factoring in experience. So you'll see a crew that has officials at each position who were rated in the top 5 at their respective spot throughout the year.
MarleyI am wondering about what you think the gameplan on O will be for the Pats? Do you see a better balance of run/pass than we saw last week in SD?
Mike_ReissI think it has to be better balance than 51 passes to 21 throws. As for the game-plan, I expect a determined attempt to run consistently, while also relying on the short pass out of a variety of positional groupings. As we've seen from the Patriots, they do a little bit of everything, and I think they'll have it all ready to go on Sunday.
johnny_aceIs banta-cain supposed to make the play or is his responsibility to turn play inside so that others can come up and make the tackle?
Mike_ReissMy understanding of it is that his first responsibility is to set the edge, or force the play inside. But if he can also shed his block and make the tackle, that's obviously the desired result.
BopesMike, I want to get your thoughts on how the Pats will open up on offense this time around. In November, everyone thought we would run run run on them, however, we spread it out and Brady was throwing a lot, to the surprise of many. I feel like this works to our advantage coming into this game, as Indy cannot just load the box against us like KC and Baltimore. In turn, I think we can run on them. Thoughts?
Mike_ReissI'm sure we'll see the spread at times in this game, with Brady trying to get rid of the ball quickly. But I'd be surprised if that's the plan on every series. I believe they have to establish that ground game, and must stick with it a little bit longer than they did the last time the teams met.
patscards1976Compare/contrast Stephen's rookie year to Adam's rookie year
Mike_ReissGostkowski in 2006: 20 of 26 on field goals; 43 of 44 on extra points. Vinatieri in 1996: 27 of 35 on field goals; 39 of 42 on extra points. I don't have kickoff/touchback stats at this time.
Rich_D_Mike, How is the health of Corey Dillon...I keep waiting for him to have a great game and he shows flashes of dominating.. but in the end the passing game dominates. Given the Colts poor defense vs. the run (before the playoffs), what do you think? 
Mike_ReissI think Dillon is as healthy as he's been at this point of the season probably at any point of his career. He's been used as part of a rotation, and that has preserved him some.
SeanHow long is the media-portion of the practice? Could it be possible Harrison stops practicing once you guys leave?
Mike_ReissToday, it was about 5 minutes. All we see is stretching. It is entirely possible that Harrison hopped back in his car and headed to the hot tub after we left.
Mike_from_the_CapeGood afternoon Mike, I predicted Rivers would turn the ball over twice last week and he did, I predict Peyton to possible throw three. I also predict the score to be Pats 31 Indy 20 with a heavy dose of Maroney and Dillon. What do you think ? Plus that 6'5 quarterback with a laser rocket arm doesn't enjoy getting hit and the Pats will hit, hurry and disrupt him overall in the game.
Mike_ReissThe one thing I would say is that Manning was solid on Nov. 5 when the Patriots hit him 12 times. That's a very high number. I think he surprised the Patriots with how well he handled that.
TroyBrownTeamMVPOff-topic, do you see more people in the chat rooms now that the playoffs have started?
Mike_ReissSignificantly more. Wish I could get to all the questions.
patswinMike - where specifically do patriots have an advantage over the colts, beyond overall coaching?
Mike_ReissSpecial teams -- in both the punt and kickoff return games.
JolangoThe combo of Warren, Wilfork and Seymor has been next to unstoppable over the last two games. I can't remember seeing three players take so much energy from the other team. Knowing the Indy's line has had problems in the playoffs and their ability to adjust is questionable, How big of an advantage do the Pats have in the trenches on the defensive side do they have?
Mike_ReissI don't see it that way. I actually thought the Chargers got the better of the Patriots up front last Sunday. I do think the Patriots have the better line when matched against the Colts, however. Controlling the line will obviously be critical.
FourforsixMike: Maybe I'm looking into this too much, but I noticed that Rodney was NOT wearing a knee brace in practice yesterday. What do you make of this? My take is either that he is not as badly hurt as has been let on, or that he came out, did some stretching, and went back to the training room. Unfortunately, I think its probably the former. Thoughts?
Mike_ReissI wouldn't read too much into that stuff. What I would say is that someone with knowledge of his situation told me he wouldn't play this week, but that he's hoping he could suit up if they make it to the Super Bowl. Of course, that could be way off, but that's what I know.
Andy_JohnsonMike, which back would you rather have in your backfield? Addai or Maroney? Also, how does the Colts D go from very bad to excellent in a span of two games? Will we be able to run on the D Baltimore faced last week?
Mike_ReissMaroney, although you can't really go wrong with either of them. Colts' D -- 3 of 22 for opponents on third down. That means they're getting off the field. As for if the Pats will be able to run, I believe they will.
MarbleheaderMike, isn't Belichick v. Dungy a mismatch?
Mike_ReissI'd give the edge to Belichick, but the last time the teams played, you'd have to say Dungy had the upper hand. But if you're asking me who I would rather have, the answer is Belichick.
walthamchrisWho is going to pay a bigger role Dillon or Maroney?
Mike_ReissI'd say Maroney. On that surface, you want to get the ball to your faster guys.
WI_Pats_FanDo you think the Pats will stick with the run game this. They gave up on it awfully early the last time they played Indy?
Mike_ReissI do think they'll stick with it a bit longer than they did on Nov. 5. At the same time, when I looked back on that game, I really saw only two times the Patriots could have run when they called a pass. Otherwise, they had quite a few negative runs and were forced into obvious passing situations.
MelMike, I'm a little afraid Hobbs is going to be used by Wayne all day. How can we help him out? Can Scott work out better to muscle him at the line?
Mike_ReissI think Hobbs is a better matchup. The best help any corner can get is a good rush up front, forcing Manning to throw quicker than he wants to.
SethWhy do I get the feeling that Gostkowski will hit a go-ahead FG with 10 seconds left, only to have the Colts return the ball 5-10 yards and then have Vinatieri hit a game-winning 75 yard FG?
Mike_ReissThanks for the laugh.
RichfromNYWhat would you recommend the patriots do differently on defense this time around vs. Colts?
Mike_ReissGet more physical with the receivers.
Chad_HenneShould we look to see Chad Scott covering Dallas Clark?
Mike_ReissScott did a nice job on Antonio Gates last week, so I could certainly see that matchup.
Jerry_CMike - it seems that a key to the Patriots success in the last 6 weeks or so has been holding onto the ball. Do you think turnovers will play a big part in this week's game?
Mike_ReissThey always do, and it's always a good reminder as we analyze all different aspects of the game, that turnovers usually trump all.
abtlr3If someone got hurt this week could a team sign a FA for the SB?
Mike_ReissYes, teams could add a player for the Super Bowl, if I remember correctly. It would be similar to how the Patriots signed Hank Poteat for the playoffs a few years back after he wasn't on the roster during the regular season. Thanks to everyone who chatted. Whether the Patriots win or lose, hope to do it again next week. Enjoy the weekend.
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