Chat with Tedy Bruschi
Welcome to ESPNBoston.com! On Friday, 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 Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Tedy (12:57 PM)
Good afternoon. Let's get going.
The Pats defensive lineman seem to be getting smaller and faster than they have been the last few years. Doesn't that make it more difficult to run the read and react 3-4 that Belichick prefers? Do DL still play two gap in passing situations (ie. when in Nickel, Dime)?
Tedy (12:59 PM)
What they lack is the old 5-technique, the big defensive lineman that can 2-gap an offensive tackle. They are catering to smaller defensive linemen who can rush the passer, because Bill Belichick knows that is where the league is going. They still have some 2-gapping principles with some calls along the front. But now it's mainly a 4-3 team.
With a lack of big tight ends and the Mankins move do you expect the team to pass more than they have in past years? Do you think Vereen will get the majority of the reps due to this style?
Tedy (1:00 PM)
No, Coach Belichick won't let the loss of Logan Mankins affect the way they call the game. He still has faith in the OL they have on the roster and the game-plan will vary from week to week based on the team they play.
Leigh (New York)
Tedy, I'm loving this defense and thinks it has the potential to rival our defenses of the past decade as one of the Pats' best of all time. What do you think?
Tedy (1:02 PM)
I do think this defense can rival some of the better defenses in recent Patriots history. For Coach Belichick to have the flexibility he wants, you have to have cornerbacks. Darrelle Revis is going to give him a lot of flexibility, and when Brandon Browner comes back after his suspension, the defense should be even better.
Andy (Pittsfield )
Hi Tedy, How difficult is it for the locker room to adjust after a shocking trade such as Logan Mankins or in your case, Lawyer Milloy?
Tedy (1:03 PM)
It depends on how mature the locker room is. If the offensive line want to be babies about it, and wish their leader was still there, it's going to be a problem. But if they can move on quickly, and someone steps up to assume that leadership role, I think they'll be OK.
Tedy (1:03 PM)
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What rookies will be Starting for the Patriots for the 2014 season beginning with September 7?
Tedy (1:04 PM)
The easy answer would be Dominique Easley if he was healthy. But he hasn't seen the field yet. You don't start him in Week 1 when he hasn't had any reps. So I'll say no rookies will be starting.
Tedy! Enough with the Mankins talk, its over people! How do you see this week 1 game with Dolphins going down? Could Miami be a threat this year?
Tedy (1:05 PM)
I do not see Miami as a threat. Can they play the Patriots close? Sure. But a threat means they are a lasting team that can contend over 16 games. They are far from that.
JP (St. Louis)
My man Tedy!! Welcome Back!! As a career player for the Patriots. Give us your thoughts on the Logan trade. I understand its all about business, but is Belichick a robot with no emotion, as MatthewSlater said we're still human? Or did he see that Logan was really on a major decline? I would imagine that this has to bring a lot of concern when players think about coming to the Patriots, that at any given day they could be sent packing. When your career was coming to end did you ever worry that you could possibly be traded?
Tedy (1:06 PM)
JP, every player in the NFL thinks this, especially around Week 3 of the preseason. To tell you the truth, the thought is always in the back of your mind. When you walk in the door, you wonder if you're going to get stopped.
Matt (East Brookfield)
Hey Tedy, it looks like we have the front line and defensive backfield covered, but I'm still frustrated watching our LBs get exposed in the middle of the field. Is it opposition talent, our personnel, technique, or am I just way too picky as a Pats fan?
Tedy (1:07 PM)
Matt, I think you're correct to see there are places that offenses look to exploit the LBs, and that's through play-action and over the middle of the field. In the past, Brandon Spikes was a major problem. We'll see if the combination of Mayo, Collins and Hightower remedies that situation.
Matt Gelinas (Orlando, FL)
If everyone stays healthy, is it possible we're looking at the next great defense in New England?
Tedy (1:08 PM)
It's impossible that everyone stays healthy. What you have to ask yourself, is this defense deep enough that when players do go down, can they still be great?
Dorian (Maryland) [via mobile]
Another season about to kick off! Main concern I have is do you think Tommy has enough weapons to utilize to get back to the Super Bowl and most importantly win? The defense seems like it's been in the best position it's been since 2005 to be impactful and take over games. Thanks tedy!
Tedy (1:09 PM)
I do think Tom Brady has enough weapons. I think they'll still be productive at the beginning of the year, even if Rob Gronkowski doesn't play. Watch out for Tim Wright. It's entirely possible that he can catch 70 balls, especially if there is no Gronkowski for the first couple of games. Wright has good hands and works hard to get open. If you're looking for a fantasy sleeper pick, he may be your guy.
Mike Tucson,AZ [via mobile]
Hey Tedy, good to have you back. What are your expectations for Jamie Collins this year? From the training camp reports it sounds like he's ready to have a breakout year. Do you see him being the versatile difference maker that the pats desperately need on defense? Go Wildcats!
Tedy (1:10 PM)
I expect big things. I know it's still early for this guy and you're putting a lot of pressure on him in his second year to be an All-Pro type of player. He'll have every opportunity to make big plays every game. This linebacker group, the starters, is the best they've had in a long time.
Atwood (Augusta, Ga) [via mobile]
Tedy, What, if any, weakness on the Patriots team do you see? In my opinion, there is nothing glaring, including the O-line minus Logan Mankins. I know the receiving corps could use more proven talent but I think that shows Bill "The Godfather" Belichick's faith in the young guys. Tell me if you agree: Patriots win division with 13-3 record.
Tedy (1:12 PM)
That's exactly the record I predict for them. If there is any weakness, I would look at the depth at linebacker. After the starting three, there isn't much. Ideally, you'd like another LB who can play all three positions to come in if there was an injury, or to give a designated starter a series or two of rest throughout the course of a game. I don't know who that is going to be right now. It looks like these starting linebackers will have to play a lot of snaps.
Teddy, Glad to see your chat back. Simple question- does the Mankins trade make the Patriots better this year?
Tedy (1:13 PM)
It gave Tom Brady a young weapon that can develop. But I want to say this about the Mankins trade: There are more signings to come. What I've learned playing for Bill Belichick for so long, he makes moves throughout the course of a season. Veterans come in and out. You may see more offensive linemen come in. You may possibly see a quarterback traded.
Teddy, who would you say is going to be the leader of this defense? Also, is there any player that reminds you of your playing style?
Tedy (1:14 PM)
Mac, I would say Jerod Mayo, mentality-wise. But he has tons more ability than I had -- faster, stronger. But I have better hands than he does. LOL.
Tedy (1:14 PM)
I love watching Mayo play.
Hey Tedy, Since 04, a lot of talk has centered around what the Pats have supposedly been "missing". While I do understand this makes for lively debate and translates to fun soundbites from pundits, can we finally squash this and just say what the Patriots really are....An anomaly in the modern-day NFL.As a die-hard Patriots fan, I am devastated every year when they don't win the SB. That they have a chance EVERY year however is truly remarkable and I'd argue more impressive than occasionally winning a SB. In no way am I trying to diminish all of your team's SB victories but luck certainly played its part (Tuck Rule, John Kasay kicking out of bounds, DMcNabb wasting clock, etc.). Who is to say that if similar luck does not fall upon the Pats in the playoffs, they do not have even more trophies??!!! I guess what I'm saying is, why does no one seemingly acknowledge the role luck plays when good teams play good teams???
Tedy (1:15 PM)
I can see what you're saying, Rob. There is a common thread that championship teams have -- good players, good coaches, good fortune.
Daniel (Fairbanks, AK)
Tom Brady drops back to pass and gets the ball down field as the pass rush closes in. A defensive end comes in a heart beat late and gives Brady a shove to the ground. Logan Mankins gets in the DE's face and gives him a shove in defense of the best QB to play the game. Who fills that role now that Mankins is gone?
Tedy (1:16 PM)
That may be the main question, Daniel. I don't know if that guy is there.
Tedy -Net, net, how does the Mankins trade resonate into and through the season? I noticed Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork deep in conversation on the field prior to last night's game - they had the look of two guys reflecting on "it's down to us." Can you give a little color to the main dynamics? Thanks.
Tedy (1:21 PM)
What you do as leaders -- first you reflect on your good friend and teammate not being there anymore. You shake your head for a minute or two ... and hopefully it's just a minute or two because you have to move on quickly. That's hard to do. It's an emotional sport played by emotional men. I remember resenting Bill Belichick and the organization for trading away Lawyer Milloy. It took me a little time to get over that. I remember watching Buffalo beat us 31-0 in Orchard Park, and Milloy sacking Tom Brady, and wondering why he wasn't with us. The week after that, we played the Eagles, and the team knew if we didn't wake up it was going to be a long season. What you have to do is take that resentment toward the organization and coach and turn it into motivation. I know that sounds weird, but the best football players find anything they possibly can to find motivation. Sometimes I would play to spite Belichick, knowing what we heard the entire week was 'This certain opponent is going to do this to you, or that to you.' Then we'd stop it, and you'd come to the sideline, look to him, and say 'What do you have to say now?' That's just the way football players look at it sometimes. Hopefully this team can find some form of motivation from losing one of their leaders.
Chris (Hudson, NH)
We often hear about the importance of getting live reps and taking hits, during the preseason - especially for guys coming off of injury. That sentiment coupled with the recently acquired depth at TE has me concerned that Gronk isn't ready. Do you agree? Do you think he plays week 1, if not 100%?
Tedy (1:23 PM)
This is the problem the organization has: Do you think Rob Gronkowski will play 16 games? And when you play him, do you start him in a limited capacity? Rob is the type of player, when he goes out there, it's going to be 100 percent full speed and will look good that you want to keep him out there. This offense is unstoppable with Gronkowski. But you want him there in December and January. If you have to manage that way, you manage it.
Peter (Amherst, MA)
Tedy, the Mankins trade has once again reminded us all how there are "no sacred cows" when it comes to doing business in Foxboro... "except Brady, of course", everyone adds. However, there *will* come a day, some day, when Father Time eventually catches up with TB12, and he's no longer the best QB on his team.What make us think that Belichick wouldn't "sell high" and trade him for a windfall of resources? What about his past actions suggest anything other than a calculated strategist devoid of all sentimentality, even for the greatest Patriot of them all? I hate to say it, but Brady seems destined for the same unforgiving fate that has befallen all the past greats preceding him. Your take?
Tedy (1:24 PM)
I think we all know Tom Brady wants to play as long as he possibly can. Do you think Bill Belichick will let him?
Tony Graham (Houston)
Hey Hope you and the family have a nice long weekend.What player on the team are you gonna be watching the most this year?
Tedy (1:25 PM)
Tony, I'm intrigued by Kenbrell Thompkins. I know he faded away last year (an injury was a factor), but I think he has a lot of potential and I hear great things about him. Plus, I drafted him late on my fantasy team. LOL.
Tom B. (Encinitas, CA) [via mobile]
Before retiring, did Belichick approach you about reducing your salary, potential trade interest, or being cut? Thanks for the great work on and off the field!
Tedy (1:27 PM)
Every Patriots player will eventually have a discussion with Bill Belichick about their end. I was no different. It was basically this: Coach Belichick said 'We think it's time.' I said, 'Coach, I agree.' Now did I try to talk him out of it? Absolutely. But I knew I wasn't the same player any more. Now my situation was totally different than Logan's. I was in my 13th year as an ILB and had just completed my fourth year after a stroke, and a part of me knew I was in "bonus time." I would have played as long as the Patriots would have let me, because I was not going to play for any other organization. I knew I was playing for the best coach in our time. I always said to myself, 'When Coach Belichick tells me it's time, I'm going to hang them up.' A lot of players can't swallow their pride like that. But I knew it was time to go.
Tedy (1:30 PM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting. We'll be back with our next chat to break down the Dolphins game. Good luck in all of your fantasy drafts.