Extra Points

Chat leftovers

Going back into Thursday’s chat and looking at some unanswered questions:

  • 1) From Bob: What are your realistic expectations for the rookies and other young players?
    Not including receiver Brandon Tate and lineback Tyrone McKenzie, who are projected to land on reserve lists, I think the top five selections are locks and as many as eight rookies could make the club. Patrick Chung looks like an immediate 2b/3a option at safety. I see Ron Brace/Sebastian Vollmer/Rich Ohrnberger adding depth on the lines, and Darius Butler contributing as a nickel/dime option and kickoff returner. I also think receiver Julian Edelman will make the team and push for playing time.
  • 2) From Portfolio1: Do you see any OL rotating in on either running downs or passing downs (other than Hochstein as a backfield blocker)?
    I don’t at this time, and I have this comment from Matt Light in mind on the importance of continuity up front: “It’s not impossible, but it’s a heck of a learning curve trying to get used to playing next to another guy and all the mistakes that come with that …When you have a new guy that comes in, or there is a rotation or some kind of mix-up, it takes a while to jell again.”
  • 3) From Recked Treck: How many games do you see it taking Brady to get back to his 2007 form? I think he will need to see some real action get his body, and especially his head back in tune, but I think he’ll do it.
    I’m going to pick a low number, because I think the biggest issue for Brady will be the mental aspect of taking that first hit. Once he gets over that, I think he’ll be fine. I thought a bit about Trent Dilfer’s comments on ESPN Live, about how the Patriots could potentially manage Brady by going more to a running game, but I don’t think that will be necessary. I think they’ll keep doing what they do and Brady will be ready to roll.
  • 4) From Guest: Have you read any of the comments recently about how the young players in this league just don’t care about getting under the wing of the veterans anymore. It was in the Monday Morning QB speaking about how guys like Derrick Brooks can’t get a job in this league anymore because there is no longer a place for vets anymore. Do you agree? If so, why do you think the Pats have been able to get along so well as a team with the vets and the younger guys?
    I think more and more veterans are getting squeezed out of the NFL, but not with the Patriots, who signed Shawn Springs, Fred Taylor, and Joey Galloway — all in their 30s — this offseason. From my own experience, and this is probably skewed from being around the Patriots, I also haven’t picked up the vibe that rookies aren’t interested in what the veterans have to say. While part of that is a credit to the culture established in the locker room, I also remember talking to Darius Butler before the draft and listening to how he revered Deion Sanders. So while I’m sure there is some validity to the thought, I haven’t noticed it much in New England. As for why that is the case, I think it’s a reflection of the strong program installed by Bill Belichick over the last decade.
  • 5) From Craig: I am curious about the Patriots practice bubble and if you are hearing any concern/nervousness after what happend in Dallas?
    The Patriots planned to review all aspects of the facility, as that accident surely caught their attention. While they haven’t publicly said they have concern, I can’t see how they wouldn’t. As a reporter covering the team, I know I’ll be thinking twice the next time I step in the Dana-Farber Field House.
  • 6) From Rob: What do you think is the best option for the Pats at outside linebacker: Trying to trade for Burgess or keeping with our in house talent using a mixture of Crable, Woods, and Banta-Cain?
    I think the best option would be acquiring Burgess if that was possible, as he could give them a proven rush option on third down. If that doesn’t work out, I still think they could win with the players currently on the roster, which also includes Vince Redd.
  • 7) From Carl: Did you get a feel on Gary Guyton during the OTAs? Where do you think he fits this year?
    Guyton received a lot of on-field work in the practices I watched, and part of that was tied to the absence of Jerod Mayo. I thought he looked comfortable, like a player who was laying the foundation to put himself into position to succeed. Guyton played 32 percent of the defensive snaps last season, mostly as a sub linebacker. It will be interesting to see if he has improved enough to make those numbers spike a bit. At this time, it’s too early for me to tell.
  • 8) From Jonesey: Why is Rich Ohrnberger playing center? We need depth at guard and a replacement for Neal/Mankins next year.
    That is pretty standard based on what clubs do, as they generally cross-train players at both positions — center and guard. Same with tackles, as you’ll often see tackles working on both sides. It’s just a way to build more versatility into the roster for teams who only activate seven linemen on game day, so the backups have them covered at all five spots.
  • 9) From Lou: Is Baker’s blocking skills the reason we haven’t signed a true fullback?
    I don’t think so, Lou. I think it’s more of a versatility thing. If there was a fullback who could contribute in all the areas like Heath Evans did — lead blocking, ballcarrier if needed, special teams, good locker room presence, right price — I don’t think the team would hesitate to add a player at the position. But since there hasn’t been a fit, it looks to me like an extra tight end could find its way onto the roster to fill that type of role, and we could see a tight end lining up in the backfield a bit more often this year.
  • 10) From Harry: I have often wondered why the NFL doesn’t have a disabled list similar to Major League Baseball that would allow an injured player to be replaced temporarily on the roster and return when healthy rather than be out for the season?
    This is a topic that was explored in May, as the NFL is discussing the possibility in conjunction with an expanded season. I’ll include the link here.
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