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 11 a.m. ET!
Tedy (11:01 AM)
Good morning and welcome to today's chat.
Tedy (11:01 AM)
Happy New Year. Great finish by the Patriots yesterday. Let's talk some playoff football.
Matt (East Brookfield)
Hi Tedy,Win or lose, the Pats did an incredible job managing roster depth this year and eked out close games. My question is - now that we're in the post-season, can we yank a receiver from a team that didn't make the playoffs? Jules is awesome, but we can't rely on him to carry us through. Poor Tommy having to work with the exact opposite crew that Peyton gets every single year!
Tedy (11:03 AM)
Matt, you can't do that. And even if you could, this isn't an easy offense. What you see is what you get from this team. Edelman is going to have to carry it. Amendola too. The running game, by committee, is going to have to do its part. If Tom Brady struggles, that would be a bad sign.
Chase (Quincy Mass)
Tedt, which team scares you most the Bengals, Colts , or Chiefs?
Tedy (11:03 AM)
The Broncos don't even scare me, Chase. I think the Patriots feel that way too. There is no dominant team in the AFC. I love the mental toughness the Patriots have developed over the year, getting through the adversity they have faced.
Jamal (Upstate, NY)
If we do happen to get lucky and win it all this year do you think TB retires a champ?
Tedy (11:04 AM)
Absolutely not. Tom Brady wants to win no matter what he does. If they win the Super Bowl this year, the next day Tom Brady will be thinking about winning another.
Hey Tedy, I've been a fan since I was 8 when you guys won the first one. This team is like no other, my question is if you were playing on this team, what what you say to the guys about how we can go win the big one? I do have my doubts about us putting together 60 minutes but even then I know we have a shot. Also, who should be the voice in the locker room throughout out the run?
Tedy (11:06 AM)
The first thing I'd say to them is being efficient with how they use their time during the bye week. I'm sure they will get some time off. This isn't a regular-season bye week where you want to get away from football. These bye weeks should be used to study possible opponents. This is a weekend where you should watch the games. I always felt it was valuable to watch playoff football on television -- to learn what to do, and what not to do. From a short-term perspective, I would say use this week if it were a regular-season week in terms of preparation for possible opponents. This is no time to take a break.
Tedy (11:07 AM)
As for the voices in the locker room, they lost two strong ones in Wilfork and Mayo. But they're still there providing their experience. I think Matthew Slater has developed into a great young leader. Of course, Tom Brady is your voice throughout the team. I also wouldn't mind the team leaning on Rob Ninkovich either.
Jeff (Cincinnati, OH)
Tedy, I recall in the draft the ESPN experts expecting the Pats to take either Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen. The Pats passed on both for Aaron Dobson. Do you think they have any regrets after his spotty season?
Tedy (11:09 AM)
From what I heard, the Patriots really wanted DeAndre Hopkins, and he went before the Patriots picked. Let's not write off Aaron Dobson yet. He has made strides this year; it's just unfortunate with the injuries. Don't get caught up in what you don't have. Support the guys you do have.
Corky (NPR Florida)
Hey Tedy: Now we have a running game going into the playoffs, I like where we are and think this team is playing it's best football. My question to you how did you keep the younger players focused going into a bye week like this, who on this team plays your old role as motivator.
Tedy (11:10 AM)
One captain that has been there through the entire season, but missed Sunday with a concussion, is Devin McCourty. He's been in a Super Bowl and played in a lot of big games. You never know when a player will transition from a leader-by-example to a vocal-type leader, and I know he's very well respected in that locker room.
Nissim (Lima, Peru)
Tedy, in your experience, what would be Belichick's plan during the bye week? What specific things are done for self-improvement and what is done as advanced prep for our likely opponent (Bengals?) that is different from the regular week prep?
Tedy (11:12 AM)
You want to get ahead in preparing for your opponent, but it can be tough not knowing who it is. Among the possible opponents (Bengals, Colts, Chiefs), they've played the Bengals once. They haven't played the Colts or Chiefs. From a coaching perspective, you can be confident that you have a good read on teams because you've played them once. It's possible they up their study on the Chiefs and Colts, having not played them this year.
Christian (Sofia, Bulgaria)
Hi Tedy, With the Patriots, every season it seems that when injuries occur with critical players, the team seems to have a knack for finding subs who step up with spectacular seasons. For example, Edelman having a career year with Gronk for most of '13, Matt Cassel throwing for a career high 3,700 yards with Brady out in '08, and even Troy Brown taking a part time DB role when the secondary was devastated and finishing second in INTs that year. How much of that do you think is a result of the Patriots system, and how much is it a result of the player just never having a enough of a chance to develop?
Tedy (11:15 AM)
I think this is a direct result of never over-emphasizing the importance of one player. I remember there were times when I would have one of my best games, but what was always focused on was the plays where you didn't do well. It was that way for everybody -- even Tom Brady. He never over-emphasized played well. He never over-emphasized when a player played poorly. It was always about improving on the things you could get better at. He did this with the second- and third-string players. He would let them know that their role was just as important as any of the captains. He not only emphasizes that point through the media, but also in team meetings. That makes players feel like, no matter how small their role, they're a key contributor to the team. So when the time comes, when a player's role is expanded due to injury, they don't feel overwhelmed. The importance of the player they're replacing was never magnified in a way that made that player seem irreplacable.
Ethan Johnson (San Francisco)
Hi Tedy! After watching the last couple of weeks, I really feel this team can make a deep playoff push because of their running game. Blount is playing out of his mind and Ridley is doing great coming back from his fumbling issues. Brady is making the plays when he has to and the Defense seems to be staying strong. Do you agree this team can make a deep push? Also, which team that the Pats can face in the divisional round do you see as the biggest threat? Thanks!
Tedy (11:17 AM)
I feel like this team can make a deep push. I picked the Patriots at the beginning of the season to be the Super Bowl representative. I knew they would be better in December than they were in September. It's all because of Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and the quality of all the coaches there. This staff continues to push their players and put pressure on their players to get better day after day after day. It is nice to see Blount run the way he did yesterday, but let me give you an observation I had about the Buffalo Bills at times yesterday: It looked like they had their U-Hauls packed. Not only did they not want to tackle on defense, but what was most discouraging was their lack of effort in wanting to tackle on kickoffs.
Conor (Limerick, Ireland)
Read you every week here in Ireland Tedy, my question is we are normally the favourite going into the post season but this year we're not really rated, will this give the Coach and the QB the 'chip on the shoulder' the brings the best out of them.
Tedy (11:18 AM)
The beautiful thing about Coach Belichick and Tom Brady is this: They were born with chips on their shoulders. That's something that will never disappear. Even if they were the favorite, it would still be there.
Chris Gomez (Fairfax, Virginia)
I want your honest opinion, Do you think we (New England Patriots) can go to the super bowl?
Tedy (11:19 AM)
Well, Chris, I always try to be honest. The answer is yes. What I would love to see in order to get to the Super Bowl is another matchup of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning in Denver.
Claudio Teichmann (Brazil)
Hi Tedy !Very proud and confident about our Pats !In your opinion, who was our defensive MVP yesterday?For me, it was Siliga ! This guys is becoming a real important part of our D#Your toughts?Thanks!
Tedy (11:25 AM)
Just when you think the Patriots can't lose another guy -- Wilfork, Kelly -- and this Siliga kid comes out of nowhere and all he does is make plays. Who gets the credit for this? If this kid showed this type of productivity, he would be on a roster. You have to give defensive line coach Patrick Graham credit, and in some ways Vince Wilfork -- who has been in everyone's ear on the sideline, taking notes during the game. When an incoming player gets a sense that he is welcome and even being coached by the guy he's replacing, it can be a boost to your mentality. Obviously, Siliga has good strength and size (6-2, 325). It's a culture in that locker room that I know very well, to survive injuries and have quality depth; that depth must continually be coached, not only by the coaching staff but by the starters who aren't there any more. This is obviously happening, and I'm sure that's part of the reason Siliga has done so well after coming in off the street.
Derrick Fazio (Dallas, Texas)
Tedy, out of the 5 Super Bowl teams you played on, was there a team that stands out that was as mentally tough as this 2013 Patriots team? I know they still have 2 or even 3 more wins to go before we can really compare them. But I truly like this Patriots team and their chances with how they overcome almost everything this season.
Tedy (11:30 AM)
With all the Super Bowl teams I played on, the mental toughness of this team is right up there with all of them. Some of the challenges this team has faced are unprecedented. We all remember the summer of Aaron Hernandez and subtracting a key offensive player. This team has shifted as the year has progressed. A defensively dominated team in the beginning to now becoming an offensively-dependent team again. The injury of Rob Gronkowski. To bring along rookie WRs in starting roles. Have your offense get healthy only to lose Amendola and Gronkowski during stretches of the year again. Then you can talk about losing Mayo, Wilfork and Kelly, and the list goes on and on. They have had to win in the final seconds and has even had flags picked up after they were thrown (re: Carolina). And they still are the No. 2 seed in the AFC. If there is one thing I applaud about this team -- win the Super Bowl or lose beforehand, it is an extremely mentally tough team. That's the best compliment I can give them.
Brian Crawford (Indianapolis)
Just wanted your thoughts on if New England should give Blount a longer contract.
Tedy (11:31 AM)
Brian, that's down the line in terms of importance, behing players like Aqib Talib and Julian Edelman, who are scheduled to be free agents. Brandon Spikes and Ryan Wendell are there along with Blount. And you might have to replace Josh McDaniels if he is hired as Browns head coach.
Bills fan here. Please tell me that Brady and Belichick are leaving soon. This has been a long 14 years in the wilderness.....
Tedy (11:34 AM)
Gary, I wish I could tell you differently. Tom Brady has a lot left in the tank and Bill Belichick lives to coach. Let's hope you guys keep EJ Manuel healthy next year. Good luck in the draft.
Tron (Waltham, MA)
Hi Tedy,I know it's old school and I know it takes the ball out of your best players hands but I love the reliance on the running game and I think it's going to be key to the the team not only scoring points in the playoffs but keeping its D rested. It will also help keep a talent like Manning off the field. What do you think?
Tedy (11:39 AM)
I agree. The running game is going to have to be huge going into the playoffs, but it also depends on the matchup. If you're playing the Bengals, for example, that have a stout defense against the run do you want to bang your head into the wall down after down? Each team presents a different challenge. The Patriots are going to attack each team differently.
Tedy (11:41 AM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting today. Great questions.