Chat with Tedy Bruschi
Welcome to ESPNBoston.com! On Monday, ESPNBoston.com NFL analyst, and former New England Patriot, Tedy Bruschi stops by to chat about the Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL news.
Bruschi retired in 2009 after 13 seasons and three Super Bowl wins with the Patriots. He started 189 games with New England, the most for any linebacker in team history. For his career, he had more than 1,100 tackles, to go with 30.5 sacks and 12 INTs.
Shortly after his retirement, Bruschi joined ESPN's stable of NFL analysts. In addition to being a regular NFL anaylst on ESPNBoston.com, Bruschi also appears on "NFL Live," "SportsCenter," ESPN Radio and other ESPN platforms.
Send your questions now and join Bruschi Monday at noon ET!
Tedy (11:58 AM)
Good afternoon everyone. Let's get right to it.
Jason (Pretzfeld, Germany)
Hi Tedy, a few years ago, everyone was worried about the Pats' defense, saying they gave up too many yards and points. Now it seems, that the defense is really what has allowed the team to start out 2-0. It is hard to really look at Thursday's game against the Jets as a means of measure, but they got the job done, and certainly kept the Bills within striking distance. Is this D "finally" for real? Can BB and #12 lean on these guys the next 4-6 weeks while the offense heals up?
Tedy (12:01 PM)
OK, Jason, I believe that's exactly what has to happen. The defense has to continue to buy time for this offense to develop as a unit. As young WRs show their inexperience and lack of chemistry with Tom Brady, you have to think that will eventually improve. This improvement has to happen on an accelerated basis due to their lack of depth at the skill positions. The positive thing over the first two weeks is that they have won both games and the defense has kept them in it. They can be counted on until reinforcements come.
what's the feeling inside the pats locker room after scraping by over 2 bottom-tier teams? At least they won, but they can't feel confident. Not to mention, Brady yelling like never before at the O.
Tedy (12:03 PM)
I feel this way about the entire NFL, but particularly with the situation with the Patriots' offense. The way the offseason is now structured, September has now become an extension of the preseason. With that, teams are still going to be using the month of September to develop their identity. This couldn't be more true for the Patriots offense. They have to feel good in that locker room right now, that after all the struggles they've had and everything they can learn from, they're still 2-0. This team will be better in December than it is in September. It's all about damage control right now.
Lance Corporal Thompson USMC (Middle East)
Mr. Bruschi I believe the rookie wide outs will continue to progress and eventually make some big plays down the stretch even without amendola. What is your projection on when this will happen. I believe it will be very soon. Your thoughts?
Tedy (12:05 PM)
First of all Lance Corporal Thompson, you can call me Tedy. But I have to disagree with you, sir. I don't think it will happen very soon. Thanksgiving comes to mind. The only immediate improvement they can hope to have within the next few weeks is the return of Rob Gronkowski. As ytou probably know, somebody that's wet behind the ears can't step in and do what a 10-year veteran can do right off the bat.
Is Harrison Smith becoming a top 5 FS in the game? Last season as a rookie he had over 100 Tackles, 11 PDs, 3 INTs and 2 TDs. Nobody even mentioned his name for DROY, well nobody in the media but PFF gave him DPOY runner up. He also had a great first game this year with 10 tackles, 1 PD and a Fumble recovery. Hes a big hitter that is also a great pass defender. Thanks for your time.
Tedy (12:07 PM)
I've been keeping my eye on Harrison Smith of the Vikings, and I've become a fan. He's a good tackler, so he can be depended on for support, and he has good range. I love the interception he made yesterday vs. Chicago with 15 minutes left, when Brandon Marshall was the No. 2 receiver in a 3-by-1 set. Smith showed great range and instincts by staying over the top of Marshall and breaking on the throw and making the catch.
Who is the greatest running back you ever played against?
Tedy (12:08 PM)
I played against a lot of good ones, but right off the top of my head, Curtis Martin, Marshall Faulk and LaDaniian Tomlinson come to mind. Out of those three, I'd go with Boy Wonder.
The defense has made the difference the first two games, but were those interceptions against the Jets the result of strong defense or lousy throws by a bad QB? How do you think this defense will play when we face a better QB?
Tedy (12:10 PM)
Geno Smith did make some bad throws and the football was definitely tougher to catch when the rain come down in the second half. But you still have to be in position to make those plays. Were they easy catches? The two Aqib Talib were the result of an error, but I thought Alfonzo Dennard made a great play to come down with that ball. I was never one to complain over a takeaway, and you shouldn't be either! You'll get your wish to see how good this defense is when they go up against Matt Ryan and the Falcons in two weeks.
Weel harkem (Weston )
Hey Teddy: Do you think this years pats defense has what it takes to shut down a high scoring team with great QB and WRs? Or we should hope for the offense to click sooner, and outscored there opponents.
Tedy (12:13 PM)
Against the Falcons, if they play the way they have the last two weeks, they will lose. This Patriots defense is solid. My son made a good decision when he drafted the Patriots defense on his fantasy team. But to get a victory against the Falcons in Atlanta, this offense will have to hold up its end of the bargain. Right now, Matt Ryan is in a different class than EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Josh Freeman.
Tedy (12:14 PM)
Sorry to be looking ahead, but one-game-at-a-time doesn't qualify when you're not playing anymore!
Tedy, The start of this season really reminds me a lot of the beginning of 2006. Tom's body language, Branch gone, lack of chemistry with receivers, etc. That year worked out relatively well, How and when did things start to gel that year?
Tedy (12:16 PM)
Well, Ian, this year -- on a different level -- reminds me of 2001. Let me tell you why. In 2001, there was a point when the defense was relied upon more because of the lack of production offensively. Defensive players that year knew that we had to buy more time for a young quarterback that was developing. I think we all remember who that young quarterback was.
Chris Welch (Washington DC)
Hey Tedy. Is there a chance that the patriots look to not only add a veteran wide receiver but even potentially another tight end to help out Tom Brady?
Tedy (12:18 PM)
Chris, it sounds like you want a quick-fix, and I'm telling you, the quick-fix isn't coming. If there was somebody better out there, he'd already be on the roster. When and if they did sign someone: 1) Is that player ready to play football phsyically?; 2) Do you really want to stop the development of the young WRs and put them on the bench?
Hi Tedy, how do you feel about the run blocking that was displayed Thursday night? I feel like everyone is talking about the drops (which were frustrating), but minus Brady, the offensive line to me is the most important part of the offense.
Tedy (12:21 PM)
Matt, that's a great point. The fumbling problems of Stevan Ridley lessen the confidence of the coaches in the running game. But I agree with you -- the offensive line and the running game has to be relied upon for more production with the passing game struggling. Until reinforcements come (e.g. Rob Gronkowski), the run/play-action game has to be a bigger ppart of the plan. This week, how often to you think they are going to throw to Darrelle Revis' side? If I were Tampa defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, I'd let Revis lock down whichever WR he wanted. I might put Revis on Edelman and force Brady to find the other guys again.
You ever watch a game and wish you could get back out there?
Tedy (12:22 PM)
Maybe during the first year of my retirement, but right now it's a resounding no.
john C (Philly)
Your early thoughts on Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones thus far?
Tedy (12:23 PM)
One thing I've noticed about Chandler Jones is the production he's had over the guard. He pressured EJ Manuel and sacked Geno Smith from that position. For him to be able to do that, it gives defensive coordinator Matt Patricia more flexibility.
Adam (Broomfield, CO)
Tedy, do you remember suggesting that a little snow would make for a special Tedy Bruschi night in 2010? I swear I got chills, just watching from my TV, when I saw that downpour strike at the end of your speech the other night.
Tedy (12:24 PM)
Adam, I heard there was a strike of lightning that could be seen from the sky when I was talking. I really didn't mind the rain. I always considered myself a good bad-weather player. Although it's a very nice red jacket, I didn't mind getting it wet. At all.
John ((North Carolina))
Tedy it seems like the signing of Danny Amendola was a total bust. One real game and now out of action..again. With his history of injuries why even take a chance wth a player thats basically made of glass
Tedy (12:26 PM)
John, that's pretty rough. The one thing I'd say about Amendola is that his mentality is as tough as they come. It's just that his durability can't keep up with his mentality. I remember Ted Johnson. He was a guy who no one worked harder than, and he was tough mentally. Everyone felt like he was a guy you could count on during games on the field. It's just that his body could not hold up. He'd work hard and then have a shoulder injury. Then he'd rehab his butt off to come back from that, and then he's have a biceps injury. You feel bad for players like Amendola and Johnson, but sometimes a player's body gives out on them.
What in the name of Stanley Morgan is going on out there? From your educated eye, what are the types of things you are seeing (or not seeing) from the young WRs? Are they correctable? Will good coaching and time help?
Tedy (12:34 PM)
Pete, what I saw was every mistake that a young receiver could make. 1) Running the wrong route; 2) Not judging the ball well in the air; 3) Not getting your head around quick enough to the QB to spot the ball; 4) Not being on the same page as your QB; 5) Being unable to catch the ball. Are some of these problems correctable? They are. Good coaching and time will help. The time is the thing -- it's not going to happen immediately. This particularly hurts when you see a rookie WR like DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans basically win a game for his team with the plays he made down the stretch once Andre Johnson went down. Last Thursday was the worst-case scenario for these guys. Not only were they confused out there, but they were going up against some complex schemes from Rex Ryan. Then the skies opened up and it started pouring. When that happens, they have to focus even more on catching the ball -- the ball is wet, your gloves are wet, your hands on wet. This situation is even tougher because they have no legitimate starters to learn from. Basically, they are all they have. It's a waiting game.
Tedy (12:35 PM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting. We'll do it again next Monday.