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

Mike Reiss Patriots chat transcript

Tuesday Sept. 4, 2007
Mike_ReissGood afternoon. I know we're looking forward to a lot of Patriots chats here at Boston.com throughout the year. Christopher L. Gasper, who I cover the Patriots with at the Globe, will be doing his fair share of chats as well. So let's roll as we gear up for the Sept. 9 opener between the Patriots and Jets.
mao27__Guest_Did the Patriots consider adding some bodies to cover for Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison while they are out? I saw some big names were cut by other teams and signed. Also, I'm surprised that Scott Pioli was unable to get even a low-round draft pick for Reche Caldwell.
Mike_ReissAbsolutely, they were looking for bodies. It is not ideal to have just six defensive linemen. Even before camp, players like Sam Adams and Kendrick Clancy were under consideration on the line. For whatever reason, it didn't work out, and I'm not sure why. I think they feel OK with what they have at safety, so that was probably less of a consideration. I also assume they tried to trade Caldwell, but there were no takers. Considering he was a free agent last year and drew little interest, I guess teams weren't convinced he was much better one year later.
PatsFan29611__Guest_Was Moss' absence possibly a smoke screen for the Jets to some degree? I just wonder if Belichick would go so far, especially with the release of Caldwell yesterday.
Mike_ReissI don't think so at all. Moss was hurt and basically the Patriots had to make a decision on what was more important: 1) Developing chemistry with Tom Brady at less than 100 percent; 2) Letting Moss rest with the idea that he'll be 100 percent or close to it for the start of the season. In my view, that's what it was all about. And they chose No. 2.
VTpatpatriot__Guest_Why didn't the pats cut Caldwell ealier and hang on to some of their young talent like Justin Rogers or Garrett Mills? Seems like they should have known Moss was making progress enough to save their draft picks.
Mike_ReissFair point. I think they were hoping both Rogers and Mills would slip through waivers and they would sign them back to the practice squad. From this view, it looks like they rolled the dice and lost. Those are the gambles a lot of teams take, and I'm sure there was more to it than just Caldwell vs. Mills/Rogers. I found it interesting that the Patriots had three players claimed off waivers, which I believe was the highest total of any club in the league. I always wondered why more teams didn't take that route, because you know you're getting a player who has been as well coached as any in the league.
ScottyB_com__Guest_A lot of talk show analysts talk about the loss of Rodney for 4 games as being a big deal. I think he brings an element to the team that we don't have when he is not playing. Howvever, I have been impressed with James Sanders and the experience he gained last year should be invaluable. People like to think that because he (Rodney) isn't there we might struggle. I love our depth and feel we should be fine and that includes not having Seymour for the first 6 games. I am also a big R. Gay fan. He has played extremely well this pre season. Your thoughts on the Patriots depth, Sanders, and Gay?
Mike_ReissI think losing Rodney Harrison for the first four games is a big deal. I thought he was the best player on the defense in the preseason, along with Vince Wilfork. At the same time, the Patriots have played 24 of their last 37 games without Harrison and have done OK. Sanders has certainly improved, and I think he'll perform well. Yet it is a step down from Harrison in my opinion. Agree on Randall Gay. I thought he was excellent in training camp. I wondered how he would respond after playing in just eight games over the last two years.
backrdbeliever__Guest_What's your opinion about the whole idea that Moss is becoming a distraction and the Pats possibly trading him for the Jets game?
Mike_ReissI don't buy it.
LSCII__Guest_Is Seymour going to be ready for week 6, or will it be even longer?
Mike_ReissI don't have the answer, and I don't think Seymour or the Patriots have it either. You can't predict how the knee will respond. Someone asked if maybe Seymour's initial injury was more serious than initially reported. I don't think that was the case. But I think the way the knee has responded -- not favorably -- has generally been kept under wraps. Placing him on PUP brought that to light. My feeling is that Seymour has had a few knee procedures and perhaps the combination of all of them is taking its toll right now. I think all parties involved are concerned that the knee hasn't responded as they hoped it would at this point.
from_maine__Guest_I do not understand why BB used a roster spot for David Herron. From what I can see, Herron is an undrafted player who did not stand out in preseason. There is not much discussions about him on the Vikings' message board. I understand the tic for tac aspect of BB wanted to get back at Brad Childress in taking Mills, but why use up an active roster spot for someone not that distinguished?
Mike_ReissI wish I had an answer for you on this one. Considering that the roster has been evolving over the last 36-48 hours, it's possible that Herron won't have a spot by the end of the week. I agree, it seems a bit curious to cut two former draft picks (Mills, Rogers) and then claim a rookie free agent. In his defense, Herron did have the label of first- and second-down run-stuffer coming out of Michigan State and maybe he replaces Oscar Lua as a player the team hopes to develop in that role.
Butterfingers_Brisby__Guest_Mike, do you see Adalius Thomas playing all 3 downs or will he be subbed by Seau?
Mike_ReissAll three, for sure. Right now, I would envision him playing primarily on the inside on early downs, then moving into a rush position on third down.
GoBam___Guest_Who do you foresee returning punts & kickoffs come opening day?
Mike_ReissWes Welker on punts. Ellis Hobbs and Sammy Morris on kickoffs, although not as sure on that one.
airredale__Guest_What's your opinion of Adalius Thomas so far. Has he spent any time at OLB? What's his assessment of where he's at right now? I'm thinking that it's going to take him awhile to make an impact here.
Mike_ReissI don't share that opinion. I think his impact will be, and has been, immediate. First, he's leading the defensive huddle, making all the calls. I also thought he played better as the preseason progressed, which I expected as he was learning a new defense. I can see him taking some reps at outside linebacker, but I see him mostly inside at this point.
LeftOut__Guest_Vinny Testaverde: Is he on speed dial to come back to the Pats, or are the Jets or a team in need of depth like the Jags likely to pick him up? Would he go?
Mike_ReissI don't know if Testaverde would go to another team, but I did hear Bill Belichick say on sports radio 850 WEEI in Boston yesterday that he is an option in an emergency.
Cush__Guest_I have to say that I was a bit surprised when they cut Danny Baugher, as his numbers were very good. Did they do it because of his recent off-field incident, or was he underperforming in a way that I missed? Also, do you think they will consider bringing Josh Miller back?
Mike_ReissThe Patriots had actually tried to claim punter Mike Barr on waivers before Danny Baugher's off-field incident, which to me was an indication they were looking to upgrade the punter spot. So based on that information, I think the on-field performance was the issue. We don't get to see practice and Bill Belichick said it would all come down to consistency, and perhaps Baugher wasn't cutting it in the practices. As for Miller, I don't think he'll be back.
kingjpDo the JETS pose any threat to the Pats this Sunday?
Mike_ReissFor sure. If I was wearing a gray hoodie, those big-play receivers would worry me most.
bcool__Guest_Do you feel the locker room will change without rodney around for the first 4 weeks?
Mike_ReissI do think it will have an impact, but I also think there are a lot of professionals in that room who know how to focus and work through that adversity. But yes, I think it changes the dynamic of the locker room.
Sports_of_Boston__Guest_With Rodney Harrison out, how much time will be split at the safety positions between Eugene Wilson, James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather?
Mike_ReissIt will depend on the personnel the Jets have on the field. If the Jets go with 3 and 4 receivers, it's sort of a moot point because all three would play. On an aside, I still have questions on Wilson's health even though he was at the media-access portion of practice Monday. He had pulled up in the Aug. 24 preseason game.
Walt__Guest_As far as I can tell, It looks like Moss will be playing Sunday. How will he fit-in with the offense and will he be playing in a full time role?
Mike_ReissI don't think it would be a full-time role. I see the Patriots putting him in one or two personnel packages -- two-wide sets and four-wide sets, for example -- so that he gets some time to recharge at points during the game. I see him playing a major role. Any time a healthy Moss is on the field, he dictates how the defense plays. The Jets will have to roll coverage his way.
Florida_Pats_fan__Guest_Did Randy Moss come out to practice today....And if so how did he look?
Mike_ReissThere is no media access today at Gillette Stadium. Also, when we're at practice, we usually get to see just stretching and one agility drill, so it's not a large enough body of work to say anything definitive. The media access is really more to take attendance on who is there and who is not.
CK__Guest_What position looks like it has the most depth? How about the least?
Mike_ReissMost depth: Offensive line/receiver. Least depth: Defensive line.
Chris_NY__Guest_How was Eugene Wilson moving at practice yesterday?
Mike_ReissAgain, we only get to see stretching and one set of agilities. I don't want to read too much into it, but for what it's worth, I didn't think he looked 100 percent hopping over the bags. That's why I still have questions on his availability Sunday. We'll see if he shows up on the injury report Wednesday around 4 p.m. ET.
Vik__Guest_Hey Mike, does this HGH scandal put Rodney Harrison's Hall of Fame chances in jeopardy?
Mike_ReissEven before this, at least one voter I spoke with didn't feel like he was a Hall of Famer. I would say this makes it that much more unlikely.
AoV__Guest_Is Seymour likely to return week 7 or is it likely he will miss more than the first 6 weeks? Also is there anyway he could possibly return before the 6 weeks?
Mike_ReissThere is no way Seymour can return before the sixth week.
wyldman__Guest_How do the Jets look? I heard their O line was not looking so good in the preseason.
Mike_ReissThe Jets will be ready to play Sunday, because like the Patriots, they are well coached. They are having some issues on the offensive line, specifically at left guard. They traded veteran Pete Kendall and have been using rookie Jacob Bender, a sixth-round pick out of Division I-AA Nicholls State, at that spot. It is certainly an area of concern for them.
Pete_from_cleveland__Guest_With Caldwell being cut and the extra roster spots for Samuel and Harrison, do the Pats now have an opening? And if so, who do you see them going after.
Mike_ReissThey do have an opening, although I assume it is earmarked for Asante Samuel, who technically doesn't count on the roster right now because the team has a roster exemption for him.
will__Guest_Do you think the pats face a tougher Jets team this year than last? Can you identify any key areas in which the Jets have improved?
Mike_ReissAbsolutely tougher. Simply the fact they are entering year two in Mangini's system is an improvement. I'd look at the Jets running game as the big improvement. They ranked 30th in rushing average last year (3.5 avg.), which is why they brought in Jones (RB) and Barnes (FB). With a more balanced offense, they figure to be that much tougher.
OPP__Guest_I think the major competition to get to the Super Bowl will come from Denver, Baltimore and Pittsburgh with all due respect to the Colts and Chargers. Who do you think represents the biggest obstacles to the SB?
Mike_ReissMy top AFC teams are the Patriots, Jets, Bengals, Ravens, Colts, Broncos and Chargers. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, I know. I do like the Texans as a surprise team in the AFC, possibly to finish second in the South.
brs5__Guest_What kind of season do you expect from Ben Watson?
Mike_ReissSimilar to last year: 50 catches, a handful of touchdowns. The big question to me is whether he can contribute in the blocking game. I've seen inconsistency from him in that area in the preseason. I think they'll miss Daniel Graham.
VA_Pats_Nut__Guest_Any talk of bringing back Artrell Hawkins to fill in at safety? Do you think we'll see more of Meriweather and Gay there?
Mike_ReissHawkins is still recovering from a physical ailment, so nothing there right now. It's going to be difficult to move Gay off the corner as he's been playing especially well there. Definitely think you'll see more Meriweather.
PatsFaninDC__Guest_How will the Pats compensate for the loss of Richard Seymour for 6 weeks? That to me is a huge concern on the defensive side of the football.
Mike_ReissIn the base 3-4, it will be Jarvis Green and Mike Wright playing right defensive end, with Green the starter. Wright has also been banged up a bit, so the depth is thin there.
Hog_Hannah_Highway__Guest_Which rookie was the most pleasant surprise for you in pre-season?
Mike_ReissMatt Gutierrez. Rookie free agent from Idaho State. A lot of poise.
Mike_4__Guest_Do you really believe that Sammy Morris is the answer as the 2nd RB? I hope that Dillon is still on speed dial because Morris was not impressive at all running the ball. I was impressed with Heath Evans however, is it possible he is going to be the 2nd runner?
Mike_ReissMost definitely. Part of the reason is what the team is looking for in its backup running back -- which is a more diverse set of skills. Morris not only helps as a backup on first and second down, but also on third down if something happens to Kevin Faulk. Remember last year's AFC Championship game when Faulk got hurt? The team ended up putting fullback Heath Evans in that role. They're more equipped for that scenario now. Dillon was an 8-12 carry back by the middle of last season. While he would win the vote in the name recognition category, I think Morris is a better fit right now. I don't see Evans as the second runner.
Robert_Edward_s_Knee__Guest_Speaking of Graham, Mike, the Pats seemed to use him on "wham" blocks, sending him in motion behind the O-Line, snapping the ball and having him charge forward. Will the Pats keep using that play this year, or does the implementation of the zone blocking scheme kind of remove that play from the books?
Mike_ReissWe have seen some of those "wham" blocks in the preseason, with Watson. So I expect to see more of them this season.
Grogan1978__Guest_Why are punters and kickers so hard to come by these days? Is BB just incredibly hard to please, or is there really a 'lack' of consistent talent?
Mike_ReissI don't think they're hard to come by, because there are really only 32 jobs for each position, so you can find capable ones out there. One factor is how much time and resources you want to spend developing a young kicker/punter vs. going with the known commodity. The Patriots have done it both ways -- using a fourth-round pick for kicker Stephen Gostkowski last year (protecting themselves with veteran Martin Gramatica) and going the veteran route with Josh Miller and Chris Hanson at punter (while attempting to work with Danny Baugher and Tom Malone).
bhowejr__Guest_Mike, can you sense the mood of the players facing the loss of two of their team leaders going into what many on the outside believed would be the Pats return to greatness year. Has there been any sign of resignation or loss of swagger?
Mike_ReissI was trying to get a good feel for that yesterday. It seemed like it was OK. Nothing out of the ordinary.
grogan_2__Guest_I think the pats are nuts to use Ellis Hobbs to return kicks because of possible injuries and what that would mean to the defense. What about Willie Andrews to return kicks?
Mike_ReissI like Andrews as well. Like I said before, not sure that they'll definitely use Hobbs, but they did have him out there in the preseason one time.
Johnny_Boston__Guest_Is Juston Rogers on the Cowboys' active roster or practice squad?
Mike_ReissActive roster.
Rebs__Guest_Where do you stand on the talks of changing the preseason format and/or adding games to the regular season?
Mike_ReissI'd keep it the way it is. Changing to three preseason games and 17 regular-season games just creates a different set of problems -- who gets the extra home game during the season?
rodney_harrison__Guest_How come me and other guys like Shawne Merriman are given such a free pass, but baseball players like Bonds, McGwire and Palmeiro are vilified?
Mike_ReissIt might have something to do with how you addressed the issue, rodney_harrison, coming out with a statement and acknowledging the mistake. I'm sure people have more remorse for those who admit their wrongdoing than those who maybe try to cover it up.
Rock__Guest_Mike: I love Troy Brown, but you honestly believe the Pats will cut one of their current receivers to make room for Troy.
Mike_ReissSo much changes between Week 1 to Week 6 that it's tough to project. But if the receivers on the team now are still healthy, I would find it hard to believe they would get cut.
Johnny_Boston__Guest_Who starts at FS if Wilson is hurt?
Mike_ReissMeriweather.
patsfanipswich__Guest_Hi Mike. What happened to the cornerback out of Notre Dame, Mike Richardson?
Mike_ReissHe ended up on injured reserve.
Sponsored Links