ESPNBoston chats Patriots-Jets
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNBoston.com, which launched Monday, will host a chat to take your questions on the New England Patriots-New York Jets game this Sunday.
Blogger Mike Reiss and AFC East blogger Tim Graham will be on hand to take your queries.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (11:58 AM)
Mike Reiss will be here in a couple of minutes to get started!
Mike Reiss (12:00 PM)
Good afternoon and thanks for joining today's chat. Just back from the Patriots locker room. Reporters spotted Jerod Mayo on crutches upon arriving in the locker room today. He was walking with strength coach Mike Woicik. Quiet day in the locker room in terms of interviews -- Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk drawing big crowds. Back in a few to get started.
Mike Reiss (12:03 PM)
We'll go until 1 p.m. ET today. The hope is to make this a weekly chat, so thanks for stopping by. Here we go...
Lowercaseg (Atlanta, GA)
Mike, what are the Pats going to do about the LB situation? It just doesn't make sense to me why the Pats have not invested more in LB's over the past couple years.
Mike Reiss (12:05 PM)
I think they'll have to add a player there, Lowercaseg. Looking at the injury report yesterday, it struck me that they almost didn't have enough bodies to practice effectively. My sense is that the short week, after the Monday game, made it tough for them to make a move this week. Probably something next Monday or Tuesday. I'd also add that I think they have invested in the position (e.g. Tyrone McKenzie, Jerod Mayo) but maybe they could have invested more than they have.
As much success as BB has had taking the band-aid approach towards replacing injured players, I don't think he has that luxury in this situation, mostly because in the past he had the solid veteran structure in place. With Mayo out, I'm of the opinion that they need to try to take some significant action to fill the void, namely trading a/some draft pick(s) for somebody who can step in and make a difference. Do you see them trying to make a move for an Ernie Simms or Derrick Johnson, and moving Adalius inside? Settling for Zach Thomas or Derrick Brooks doesn't seem like a power move to me.
Mike Reiss (12:08 PM)
I think the big problem, Stefan, is that teams aren't going to be willing to part with a top linebacker. A player like Ernie Sims is valued as a starter in Detroit, and is one of their assets at this time. Derrick Johnson appears to have regressed in K.C., so I'm not sure that's a great option. They're in a tough spot. I think the solution comes from in-house at this time, with more reliance on the four-man line, before they revisit early next week.
Sam Yelinek (Amherst, Mass.)
Mike, what's your take on fellow UMass alum James Ihedigbo, who is with the Jets? Think he could make and impact on the game?
Mike Reiss (12:10 PM)
Great to see some UMass representation. I was there 1993-97, great years. I haven't seen much of Ihedigbo, but I did take note of what Jets coach Rex Ryan said about him yesterday on a conference call: "James is a tough guy, a very physical player who does a great job on special teams. We use him some on defense as well. I thikn he's a hitter. I think he's a good blitzer and he's got some decent coverage skills as well."
Hi What's up with the running game and should Patriot fans be concerned? Why haven't the running backs been able to make big plays on a consistent level in the last couple of years including last monday? I know that there has been many injuries, but I am starting to wonder whether it might be the offensive line that is not able to create defensive gaps... what do you think?
Mike Reiss (12:12 PM)
Steffen, the running game was a disappointment last week -- lowlighted by not converting a first down on fourth-and-1 on the opening drive -- but I think it's too early to be concerned. I thought Maroney ran hard and looks like he's more confident. I thought the run game was an overall strength last season -- I believe they were seventh in the NFL -- so I wouldn't read too much into one game.
Nick Atwood (London UK)
With the linebacker position being so vulnerable, what do you think the Jet's main strategy for offense will be in order to keep up with a hopefully high scoring slow paced patriot offense?
Mike Reiss (12:15 PM)
Nick, I would expect running back Leon Washington to be heavily featured in the game-plan. He's a tough matchup for linebackers, so I'd start there. A lot of the strategy will be dictated on what type of defense the Patriots play. I am thinking New England plays a 4-3 or even a 5-2 type of look, with the idea of matching power for power at the line of scrimmage. So getting Washington in some matchups in the passing game on the second level would be beneficial to them.
The Patriots offensive look with 6 lineman against the Bills was an abomination. Does BB areally think this can work or is it in the trash can?
Mike Reiss (12:18 PM)
I think that was a game-plan specific, designed to wear down Aaron Schobel and set a wider edge. As we saw, Schobel is an excellent edge rusher. As for the results, this is what the Patriots did with six linemen on the field:* No gain on fourth-and-1* 8-yard run* Tripping penalty on Matt Light* 0-yard run* Completion to Randy Moss for 16 yards* 1-yard run* 1-yard TD run* Minus 3-yard runI didn't think it was all that bad.
Har (Vancouver, Canada)
Is it just me or are the Patriots taking a risk in having Wes Welker return kicks, and punts??? I just think if he gets injured doing that he would be a big loss. Who else can step in and do that instead of Wes...
Mike Reiss (12:19 PM)
That is definitely part of the risk/reward of playing key personnel on special teams, Har, just as we saw with the Steelers and Troy Polamalu. I think that spot will be Julian Edelman's when he returns to full health. Other options are Kevin Faulk, Joey Galloway and Pat Chung.
Scuba Owl (Lakey Lake)
Hey Mike, congrats on the new gig. So why is no one talking about the Pats secondary? As far as I could tell (and I was at the game) they shut down T.O.E. for most of the game, as well as Lee Evans, and didn't allow any big plays. What I saw was a combination of good coverage skills from Springs and Bodden and hard hitting from the safeties. Did I miss something, or is there just "too much negativity in this town?"
Mike Reiss (12:21 PM)
Thanks Scuba Owl. Great point about the secondary. I thought this was a great example of what Bill Belichick often says: "If you want to shut down one player, or one aspect of the game, you can. It's just how much you're willing to give up somewhere else." As I watched the game over, it looked to me like the safeties were playing in Wrentham and Walpole. That's how far down the field they were. The idea seemed to be to take away Evans/Owens and the big play, which left them a bit vulnerable underneath. Nice plan. Nice execution.
Bruce M. (Cambridge, MA)
Normally, I expect rookie QBs like Mark Sanchez to be confused by Belichick's complex defense. However, without Jerod Mayo, Tedy, Rodney, Vrabel, and a groggy Adalius Thomas. Do we even have the experience to run a complex, adjusting, defense?
Mike Reiss (12:22 PM)
I think it has be simplified, Bruce. Technique and production at the line of scrimmage, on both sides, takes on added importance in my view.
Sanchez did not get sacked last week. Will Belicheck change his schemes to get to the rookie or do you think it was adjusting w/o Mayo that hurt our pass rush?
Mike Reiss (12:25 PM)
I thought the Patriots did some different things with their schemes against the Bills. We saw Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess line up in non-traditional spots. If I recall, the Patriots were in the 3-4 early, but had Banta-Cain -- normally a stand-up linebacker -- with his hand on the ground. So I think that was an example of 3-4 personnel with some 4-3 principles. Burgess, who had rushed exclusively from the defensive left side in the preseason, was seen elsewhere at times. While the rush wasn't great, I actually saw some positive signs there. Jets line is experienced and tough, so it will be tough to get to the quarterback.
So with Jerod Mayo hurt (some reports have him out 6-8 weeks), there have been rumors that Derrick Brooks would be a logical replacement, and I can definately see that happening. The question I would have is, who would go to make room for him on the roster?
Mike Reiss (12:25 PM)
Chris, a lot will depend on the injury situation. If a player like Matthew Slater is ready to return, maybe it's Bret Lockett because you can only have so many special teams-only type of guys.
Paul B (Greenfield)
I noticed that Matt Light was sent to the bench and Vollmer played LT for a couple of plays after Light's tripping penalty. Is it possible that Coach B is planning on rotating Vollmer in at LT occasionally?
Mike Reiss (12:26 PM)
I don't think so, Paul. What I think you saw what Light heading to the sideline because he was an eligible receiver on the play he was called for tripping. Because of that, he has to leave the field for one play before returning to the game as a non-eligible receiver.
Juan Rodriguez (Cicero, illinois)
Don't you guys think that everyone is over reacting to how "poor" the patriots played monday night and how "lucky" they were to win the game? yes the bills moved the ball well sometimes but only came up with 17 offensive points and shut down the dangerous duo that is Terrel Owens and Lee Evans. Thats classic bend but don't break BB defense, especialy without our leader Jerod Mayo. Offensively we were a little rusty but Tom Brady's 2 minute offense is still the best in the league! your thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:28 PM)
I don't think anyone believes it was the Patriots' best effort, but my personal belief is that at this time of year, you take the win and move on. I'd say the same thing about Denver. Doesn't matter how you get it at this point. If this was late December, then I'd put more stock in "style" points. Agree on the two-minute offense. Brady makes it look so easy. Any time you have No. 12, you have a chance.
Is there any buzz about Derrick Brooks? He seems like the typical Patriots pickup, older seasoned veteran on the edge of retirement that still has something in the tank and wants to win a super bowl.What do you think
Mike Reiss (12:30 PM)
Brooks is at ESPN today as part of his new gig, but I don't think that rules out the possibility of him coming to New England. I know the Patriots are the type of team that interests him because of the chance to win and how Bill Belichick manages veterans at the end of their careers. I haven't seen Brooks play much in recent years, but it wouldn't surprise me if the Patriots take a look.
Hey guys, Mike-glad to see that kept your chats, it was my favorite aspect of your Pats coverage. Any news on a possible LB signing? I can't imagine we go into this game with Alexander as our primary back-up inside. I know Brooks signed on with ESPN as an analyst so that leaves Thomas, Junior, Williams (recently cut by Browns)
Mike Reiss (12:31 PM)
The Patriots did not report any workouts to the NFL over the last two days. So unless there is something today, it looks like a longer shot that something could happen until after the game.
Joe (Mansfield, MA)
Any shot we could see the Patriots play a spread style offense all game? That performance on the ground vs. the Bills wasn't exactly encouraging.
Mike Reiss (12:32 PM)
Joe, I think this is one of the chess-match type elements of the game. We've seen the Patriots go spread to slow down an attacking defense -- I believe they did it against the Ravens Rex Ryan's old defense last year -- but I think that is a dangerous approach given that Brady is still getting comfortable in the pocket and it leaves him more vulnerable to big hits. I'd limit the use of the spread.
Hello Mike,Good to see you here. I must say that Jets did look good in their opener against Texans. With Buffalo showing good pass rush, and Miami living on Joey Porter's 17 sack season, can we assume that Pats are not in the same league when it comes to defense as their AFC east counterparts?
Mike Reiss (12:35 PM)
I wouldn't go that far, madmax32. Wouldn't surprise me if things look different in Week 2. I actually thought the defense -- while disappointing in not being able to stop Buffalo in the fourth quarter -- did some good things. Allowed 276 total yards (not bad) and got off the field 6 of 10 times on third down (OK). Part of it was the plan to take away Evans/Owens, so they conceded other areas. The bad: Bills were 2 of 2 in the red zone.
PatsOG (Las Vegas,NV)
What will the Patriots most likely do to fill in for Jerod Mayo, following his recent injury...go with who they have or pick up an unsigned linebacker, and if so, who are the best candidates ???
Mike Reiss (12:37 PM)
I think the first thing is the overall scheme. Instead of the 3-4 that they opened with vs. Buffalo, I'd expect more reliance on the d-line so it will be a 4-3 or something like that. Then it's up to second-year linebacker Gary Guyton to step in as the middle linebacker. In terms of signing a free agent, I'd start with Derrick Brooks and/or Zach Thomas and see how they check out. Because you're signing a player at this point, experience helps because of the learning curve of adjusting to a new defense.
Mike, do you think the pats-jets game will be Pats O vs Jet's D? I think with the loss of mayo we need to score more points to win and not rely on our D to win it for us - especially with the O line the Jets has.
Mike Reiss (12:39 PM)
I think that will be a key matchup, Alex, but I wouldn't simplify it to that degree. I wouldn't overlook special teams (where the Patriots were exceptional last week) and also wouldn't count the Patriots' defense out just yet. Losing Mayo is a tough blow, but there are some good football players still on the D.
Ben (Stamford, CT)
I understand that the Jets have this new attitude and Rex Ryan has no problem talkign some trash, but the amount of talking some of the Jets players are doing this week is ridiculous!! They have lost eight straight at home to the Pats, and if they lose this win, it will look even worse because of the trash talking. Dont you think they need to shut up and just play??
Mike Reiss (12:41 PM)
I don't mind it, Ben, because I think I understand the context behind the talk. Rex Ryan has established a culture where he wants players to be themselves and have fun. If that means they talk a lot, they talk a lot. I think both sides know that it will come down to execution -- not the bulletin board -- but the chatter adds a little flavor to the week.
How do you see the Jets' WR's behind Cotcherry contributing in this game, and will it be enough to pull out a win? Do they need to go get another veteran receiver?
Mike Reiss (12:42 PM)
The first thought that came to mind, Brett, is that Dustin Keller is as dangerous as a receiver and he could be a huge part of this matchup. He really hurt the Patriots last year (the third-and-15 play in OT was a dagger). So while the receivers outside of Cotchery are a bit of a question mark, I think the role Keller plays becomes that much more important.
Vic Sergardi (Framingham)
Mike, how much are the Rex Ryan comments on the minds of the Patriots?
Mike Reiss (12:43 PM)
I think it's the type of thing that they'll surely mention after the game -- assuming they win -- but they're playing it cool at this point Vic.
Jeff W (Cambridge)
Hey Mike,Congrats on the move to ESPN. My question is about the Pats' defensive scheme this weekend. With the Bills more of a threat to complete the deep pass, and the Jets more of a power running team, do you think we'll see Ron Brace and Pat Chung play a role in the defense this week, as the Pats try to stop Thomas Jones?
Mike Reiss (12:44 PM)
Appreciate the analysis, Jeff, and agree on the Brace part. I told him that was my belief in the locker room today. This is going to be an extremely physical game, more so than the Bills contest. I think they'll need Brace's bulk up front. Not as certain on Chung.
Christophe (Needham, MA)
Who will be the better Jets RB this Sunday, Thomas Jones or Leon Washington?
Mike Reiss (12:44 PM)
I'll pick Washington because he can beat you in more ways than one (running, pass-catching, special teams).
Mike, do you see Gary Guyton as a fit for the 4-3 middle linebacker position. While I like him in the 3-4, and outside in the 4-3, I thought he played poorly when he took over as the 4-3 middle guy. Was that due to a lack of practice time at the position, or do his skills just not fit?
Mike Reiss (12:45 PM)
He's definitely fast enough, Pat. I think he can do it. I do think the lack of practice time contributed to his performance.
Jimmy (Boston, MA)
I heard Thomas Jones say on ESPN that he sees Rex Ryan as more of a player then a coach at times, and he likes that. Do you think it's a good thing or a bad thing that players on his team are perceiving him that way?
Mike Reiss (12:48 PM)
I don't think it's a bad thing, Jimmy. I've only had the chance to cover two head coaches -- Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick -- so I haven't been exposed on a regular basis to the different styles that coaches adopt. While Belichick's no-nonsense type of style seems to work, I don't think that means Ryan's approach can't or won't.
Hi Mike, I have a question about the defense. One of the things that used to be great about the Pats defense was that they used to move around a lot and try to confuse the opponent. I have not seen that lately. On Monday the defense appeared to look stagnant. They lined up and did not move until the snap. Is this the fault of the defensive scheme put in by Dean Pees? Should the Pats be going after Romeo Crennel for the future?
Mike Reiss (12:50 PM)
Max, I actually thought the defense schemed a bit more than I expected, moving players around, altering the techniques up front. It might not have been as obvious as what the Jets did -- I saw nose tackle Kris Jenkins back away from the line of scrimmage and then sprint forward 4 yards and bang into the left guard on a pass rush -- but I did see some noticeable tweaks. When it comes to Pees, I think it's important to point out that this is Bill Belichick's defense. While Pees calls the plays, Belichick has the headset on and can overrule at any time.
The linebacker unit has looked especially slow : do you feel that it is an accurate statement and if you do, could you single out a LB who's bringing the D down in that area (i feel like the great A Thomas has lost a step)?
Mike Reiss (12:51 PM)
I think Mayo and Guyton are fast, and we've seen them go sideline to sideline in the preseason and through one regular season game. Thomas is still effective in my view. I think Pierre Woods looks a bit slow when he's playing off the line.
I'm thinking Junior Seau now that Brooks signed that TV contract. Any thoughts on any linebackers out there who might be a fit?
Mike Reiss (12:53 PM)
Shawn, I wouldn't rule out Brooks just because he's at ESPN. If a team calls, I believe he could break that contract and play. As for other linebackers, I'd be curious about Zach Thomas, to see if he has anything left to offer. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Patriots were in their sub package about 60 percent of the time against the Bills. They run a 4-2-5 nickel, which helps them work around the linebacker void a bit.
petededham (Dedham MA)
How do you guys think the Pats will handle the screen passes?
Mike Reiss (12:55 PM)
Petededham, I think they will be better on the short stuff this week than they were against the Bills, in part because the safeties won't be in another zip code.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
Jaws was commenting that Brady wasn't planting on his injured knees during his throws. Is Brady getting used to not favoring his knee?
Mike Reiss (12:56 PM)
I was actually in the production meeting the morning of the game when Jaworski was preparing and going over video, and I thought it was interesting stuff. Jaworski's words have added meaning to me because he's played quarterback before. Seems to me that it's a process for Brady and he's still working his way through it. I don't think he's all the way there.
Welker, Moss and watson and sooo many drops on Monday: cause for concern or just first game rustiness?
Mike Reiss (12:57 PM)
Uncharacteristic in my view, when it comes to Welker and Moss. Would be surprised if we see a duplicate of that Sunday.
Jason (Ellicott City, MD)
How many TDs will Brady throw?
Mike Reiss (12:58 PM)
I see a lower-scoring game. I'll say 2.
Dan (Jacksonville, FL)
Hey Mike! This matchup seems like it's going to be a drag out brawl...I'm a little worried about the Pats D especialy witht the loss of Mayo. Do you think they wil be forced into playing a straight 4-3 this week? Will they be as agressive as they were blitzing at the end of the game last week or will they be more cautious?Thanks!
Mike Reiss (12:59 PM)
I think they will be limited to that, Dan, or something similar to it. In terms of being aggressive, I think the scoreboard will dictate the approach. If they're up, they can be more aggressive. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect it.
Is Galloway a bust? What are the chances of Stanback contributing maybe in the 53-man roster eventually?
Mike Reiss (1:00 PM)
I don't think so, Peter. No catches in 60 snaps looks bad, and he's clearly still getting on the same page as Brady, but I wouldn't rule him out yet. Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio said he was assignement-sound and had a good game. While it sounds hard to buy, I buy it. I don't think Caserio would have said it if it wasn't true.
Mike Reiss (1:00 PM)
Let's take one more.
Why did Fred Taylor play so sparingly in the second half?
Mike Reiss (1:01 PM)
Probably the biggest thing, Ben, was that the Patriots were in the two-minute offense for the final 18 or so snaps as they were playing catch-up. That's Kevin Faulk's forte.
Mike Reiss (1:02 PM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting. Will look forward to doing it again next week. Enjoy the rest of the day.
Tim Graham (1:03 PM)
usually the warmup act goes first, but ESPN.com is trying something new and making the dud follow the stud. Mike will be tough to follow, but I'll give it a shot.
Mike Reiss (1:03 PM)
We'll hand it off now to Tim Graham.
do you see the patriots using the raiders draft pick (if high enough) to get a qb to replace brady after a couple a years?
Tim Graham (1:06 PM)
That's a possibility, but the Patriots probably aren't even considering how they'll use that pick at the moment. Too many things will happen between now and then. Where will the pick be? Will there be a rookie salary cap by then? Will there be a player they want at that spot? Would it be more feasible to trade it? For now, the Patriots will just be satisfied in knowing that have that asset and didn't let Richard Seymour get away for nothing as a free agent.
Ed (Clemson, SC)
I loved watching Julian Edelman in the preseason this year and then he hurt his ankle recently. With the lack of production we saw out of Galloway, will we see more of Edelman soon? And is he still considered to be a return man possibility?
Tim Graham (1:08 PM)
I think that's very much a possibility, Ed. The lack of chemistry between Brady and Galloway is a concern. If Belichick feels that Edelman can stimulate more on offense or in the return game, he won't hesitate to bench Galloway. We all know that Belichick will have no compunction over telling a veteran he's not good enough.
Sean (Pelham, NY)
Hey Tim, Mike wouldn't answer my question, Moss is a top 3 reciever, and in my mind Darelle Revis is a top 3 cornerback, how do you think they will match up on Sunday?
Tim Graham (1:12 PM)
Based on the queue of questions, Mike had a lot to sort through. Sometimes it's tough on these ESPN chats to get to everybody because they fly in so furiously.I love matchups between elite receivers and elite corners. I settled in for a nice battle Sunday afternoon between Revis and Andre Johnson, but it never materialized. That said, I don't see Revis having the same luck this week. Moss will find a way to make plays even when Revis is all over him. I predict there will be much more back and forth between them throughout the game.
Hey Tim, this past week Jake Long has taken a lot of flak concerning his performance against Mr. Abraham...In watching the Pat's game Monday Night I noticed both DE's eating up Matt Light yet haven't seen any hoopla- why is this? Does Light get a freebee for being on the Pats or are Long's expectations really set up that high?
Tim Graham (1:15 PM)
Quite simply, the way the game ended impacted every word written or broadcast about that game. Believe me, had the Bills gone on to win, Light's performance would have been scrutinized much more. But when a game ends so dramatically, it eclipses everything else. In the end, Light's bad plays didn't make a difference. But you're right, Aaron Schobel had a fine day against him.
Tim Graham (1:15 PM)
Conversely, Jake Long's performance contributed to a loss. It gets magnified.
tim, do you think the Pats will be "forced" to make short throws due to blitzes or Brady will have chances for long bombs?
Tim Graham (1:16 PM)
The best way to beat an attacking 3-4 defense is to spread the field and make the types of quick throws you mention. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Edelman not only play, but be on the field with Welker at the same time.
Tim Graham (1:17 PM)
I can see how popular I am here ... Since I've sat down I've gotten about nine questions, and Lance posted his six times.
Tim Graham (1:18 PM)
I'm trying to keep it to Patriots-Jets questions, but if we don't get some more of those, I will open it up for anything.
Thanks for answering my question Tim! But to follow up- what do YOU see the chances are we see Long bouncing back this week against Freeney or will Freeney find out there is such a thing as a free lunch?!
Tim Graham (1:19 PM)
It will be a huge test for Long. For the first time in his career, he'll need to have a bounce-back game. Unfortunately for him, it will be against one of the NFL's best defensive ends. We'll learn a lot about how good Long is on Monday night.
Dylan (New York)
Will Keller play a big part in the Jets passing attack?
Tim Graham (1:20 PM)
Without a doubt. With all due respect to Jerricho Cotchery, Keller might be even more important to the Jets' passing game. He's a receiving mismatch for so many defenses. Just don't ask him to spring a key block.
What are your thoughts on Galloway? I thought he might get the ax in the final cuts because he has not impressive at all thru the summer and obviously the opener. I think he has a few weeks to make an impression then he will be deactivated if he does not produce
Tim Graham (1:23 PM)
I really didn't consider Joey Galloway a possible cut until the Patriots dropped Greg Lewis. Then I wondered why -- if a receiver had to go -- why they picked Lewis over Galloway. Obviously, speed is a consideration, but the total lack of chemistry between Brady and Galloway stood out to me throughout camp and the preseason. I noticed it as far back as the OTAs that were open to the media but chalked it up to two players learning each other. By now, however, there should be some sign of mojo that has yet to reveal itself.
Tim, feel the love, man. Has Bruschi put away his jersey for good? Why is he not a name being tossed around for the LB gap the Pats are currently experiencing?
Tim Graham (1:25 PM)
His name isn't getting tossed around because the Patriots clearly wanted to turn the page. I think he might be of interest if there were an injury situation late in the season, but with 15 games left to play, they'll likely look elsewhere.
Where were Pryor, Brace, and Chung last week? I thought they would be big parts of the defense.
Tim Graham (1:26 PM)
Chung is a reserve player for now. Pryor has been banged up. Brace was invisible.
Do you think ben watson will be able to build off this past game and hopefully gain the confidence he needs to fulfill the potential that had him drafted in the 1st round? I've always liked him but Brady seemed to have lost confidence in him (2007 especially) before hitting him for the last 2 tds.
Tim Graham (1:29 PM)
I'm skeptical. We've seen games like this out out of Watson before -- maybe not this sensational of an ending, but he has had some big games that tease Patriots fans into thinking he's on the verge of becoming a star.
Considering the Jets weakness at wide receiver, do you envision the Pats putting a safety (Merriweather?) in the box to help the Pats defend screen plays and runs?
Tim Graham (1:30 PM)
I can tell you this: He won't play 30 yards deep like he did Monday night against Terrell Owens and Lee Evans. But the guy the Patriots need to be wary of is David Clowney. Dude can fly, and he can catch a little, too.
yrstruly (Enfield, MA)
Given the look of the Patriots offensive line Monday night, how effective do you think the Jets could be only bringing four?
Tim Graham (1:31 PM)
I'm not sure Rex Ryan knows how to bring only four.
What are the chances the the Texans just plain stink and the Jets are now being overrated because of that win? On top of that I thought Sanchez got bailed out by a couple dropped ints.
Tim Graham (1:33 PM)
The Texans may very well stink, but what the Jets did was remarkable even if they were playing the Bengals. The Jets manhandled an NFL team on the road. Their defense pitched a shutout without two of their best players (Shaun Ellis is back for the Pats). Their quarterback became only the fourth rookie since the NFL-AFL merger to win a season opener on the road. There's a lot for Jets fans to be excited about.
Alex (Long Island)
And Brady got bailed by a fumble in the 4th.
Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)
Tim Graham on ESPNBoston? Say it ain't so, Tim. Say it ain't so. I'm considering flagging you.
Tim Graham (1:34 PM)
I'd like to know what the call would be, but I'm afraid to ask.
Bob (NY NY)
Put Lito on Moss with Rhodes helping over the top. Have Revis blanket Welker all over the field. Lito vs Welker is probably a bigger mismatch due to Welkers quickness, and Moss demands help regardless of who play's him.
Tim Graham (1:35 PM)
Then who covers Joey Galloway?
How did you feel that the newly revamped secondary played against the Bills?
Tim Graham (1:36 PM)
They were fantastic. Any defense who wants a blueprint on how to eliminate Terrell Owens and Lee Evans from a game should put in a tape of that game. The Bills still almost won, but the Patriots forced them to execute almost perfectly to do it.
All right, so no Bruschi. I'm a huge BC fan, but I'm still skeptical of Brace's ability to transition into the NFL. Do you think he can be a viable part of the Pat's D this year, or will there be a longer learning curve?
Tim Graham (1:38 PM)
There is a learning curve there. As with any rookie, the Patriots need to find a level of trust with a player before they can put him on the field. He's still learning, but they drafted him knowing they were moving more to a 4-3 base. I think he and Wilfork will work well together.
I think you would more be fined for some sort of uniform violation, rather than being assessed a penalty for being in ESPNBoston. Either way, I'll take my Graham like I'll take pizza, anytime, anywhere.
Tim Graham (1:39 PM)
I thought I heard you stumbling through the bushes outside my front window last night, Drew.
Louie (Tampa, FL)
Timmy, love the work with the blogs and the chats dude. Entertaing and informative stuff - no serisouly, I'm being honest here dude. It's good stuff. Anyway, being that the games are won in the trenches and the Jets may be top 5 on the OL and DL (not to mention overall D) is this a team that can make the playoffs? And not only make the playoffs, but can Gang Green make some noise come January?
Tim Graham (1:42 PM)
Even before the season began, I gave the Jets an outside shot at making the playoffs. They'll need to catch some breaks because they won't snap their fingers and -- just like that -- leapfrog the Patriots and Dolphins. I do think the AFC East winner will be the only team that reaches the postseason. AFC East schedules are nasty, and multiple teams should emerge from the AFC North and AFC South.
Tim, you're not sure Ryan knows to bring only 4? According to Cimini, he 17 times last week, with 16 5 man, 3 3 man, and 0 6 man rushes on passing plays last week.
Tim Graham (1:43 PM)
I was making a joke, Joe. I guess I didn't do a very good job. Kind of like your sentence-structure skills.
Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)
Alright Drew, that's 15 yards for stalking. It remains 2nd down.
Louie (Tampa, FL)
Tim, if I can disagree with you for a minute - I feel the Jets are already better then Miami. More talented with something to prove in my opinion. Last year Miami caught everyone by surprise with the wildcat and got almost every break and bounce. So the real issue to me here in can they overtake the Pats?
Tim Graham (1:46 PM)
I'm not ready to make that leap after one game. Probably not two or three either. Remember when the Bills beat the Patriots 31-0 on opening day 2003?
Don't forget the cake schedule the Fins had last year!
Tim Graham (1:48 PM)
Everybody in the AFC East had a cake schedule last year. The Patriots had the Steelers, but the two last-place teams the Dolphins got last year were Houston and Baltimore -- not exactly gimmes.
Tim Graham (1:48 PM)
And, yes, they lost both, but they beat teams the rest of the AFC East couldn't.
Jan (Nashua, NH)
Having not rewatched the pats game, why am I the only one who thinks the patriots defense far outplayed what was expected of them, even without Mayo. Two two long Buffalo TD drives were both continued because of BOGUS roughing the passer calls. TOTALLY BOGUS. Those two drives don't happen without both penalties and that limits the bills to what, 10 points?
Tim Graham (1:49 PM)
The Bills did have some help on those drives. You're absolutely correct.
Settle an argument. Who is the better player, Leon or Reggie Bush?
Tim Graham (1:50 PM)
I prefer Leon Washington, but I wouldn't use my opinion to settle that debate.
Comic Book Guy (Springfield)
The call on Wilfork was horrible, but Adailus Thomas, cant' chuck the QB to the ground, there was no need....kind of dumb
Tim Graham (1:51 PM)
Again, I agree about Adalius Thomas. He gave the ref a decision to make, but the Bills were lucky to get the call. That was not a black-and-white foul in my eyes.
Alright Timmy. Colts and Dolphins Monday. I'm not that familiar with Miami. What should I expect?
Tim Graham (1:52 PM)
I am familiar with Miami and don't know what to expect. But I envision a wild day for the rookie cornerbacks, Sean Smith and Vontae Davis. Peyton Manning knows how to exploit a weakness, and their inexperience -- in their home debuts, on Monday Night Football -- could be a serious problem.
Joe (Wichita, KS)
Please don't remind us about 2003, that was so long ago, and our defense was much better then.
Tim Graham (1:53 PM)
And kids respected adults! And we didn't have all this loud rap music!
Joe (Wichita, KS)
Do the Bills win their home opener agains the Bucs?
Tim Graham (1:54 PM)
I think they do.
Eric (Long Island NY)
just like the pats were lucky to get a late hit call on whitner when the defender wasnt even down yet...
Tim Graham (1:55 PM)
That wasn't a late hit, Eric. It was spearing, and it was the right call. Whitner lowered his head and hit the runner with the crown of his helmet. A textbook spear.
Ortho Stice (Enfield, MA)
So make a call, who wins Jets-Pats and why?
Tim Graham (1:56 PM)
I've struggled with that because I'm trying not to read too much into Week 1 performances as a barometer. Based strictly on what I saw last weekend and knowing Mayo is out, I'd have to say the Jets.
Tim, I dont think the Bills were that "dominating" last game. Sure they were leading but minus the INT for 7 the Pats D did a decent job and they had few scoring chances that they missed. Plus the Pats had many more snaps compared to Bills
Tim Graham (1:58 PM)
I don't recall describing the Bills as "dominating." They nickled and dimed the Patriots defense and got some breaks. But they gave the Patriots the biggest break of all.
Can the Bills keep up the way they played against the Pats, or was that a one and done type of deal?
Tim Graham (2:00 PM)
A postgame quote from Trent Edwards keeps rattling around my brain. He said "We put all our eggs in one basket" for the Patriots. That comment, plus Dick Jauron admitting they spent no time game planning for their preseason games, makes me wonder if the Bills had been gearing up months to prepare for that one game.
Kerry Rhodes (Meadowlands)
Is my mouth writing a check my skills can't cash?
Tim Graham (2:01 PM)
Kerry Rhodes is a stud. His skills aren't at issue. But there are 52 other guys he shouldn't be speaking for.
John Anthony (Ipswich, MA)
Wow Tim, way to stick with your guns going with the Jets? You don't like to use the way teams play week 1 as a barometer? And because Mayo is out is your decision of why we will use? I remember last year, this guy named Tom Brady went down and then played the Jets week 2 and we won.. but you're right.. Tom Brady probably doesnt have as much of an impact on a game as Jerod Mayo.......
Tim Graham (2:04 PM)
How is picking the Jets sticking to my guns? I picked the Patriots to win the AFC East this year. And please tell me how beating Eric Mangini in Week 2 last year has anything to do with winning in Week 2 this year. Count up the number of players who played in that game last year and see how many of them won't even be on the field Sunday. One has NOTHING to do with the other.
Alex (Long Island)
Hey Tim, why don't people read? Better yet, why don't people understand what they are reading?
D. Pelton (puerto penasco, mexico)
Has creating a culture of talking ever helped a new coach? If the Jets lose this game does it break their confidence and swagger levels down? When you talk too much and get punched in the mouth you might never be as loud again and may doubt yourself
Tim Graham (2:05 PM)
Absolutely. It helped Buddy Ryan. Oh, wait ...
I love the sarcasm from all these fans, damn they get heated...John Anthony is fired up!!!
Ethan (Durham, NC)
Tim, what are your thoughts on the role Sammy Morris played in Week 1 and what role he will play as the season goes on. He was the "feature" back last season and he didn't even touch the ball against the Bills. Is he at the bottom of the pecking order for carries right now?
Tim Graham (2:07 PM)
I'm not sure where he rates compared to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but Morris definitely is behind Laurence Maroney and Fred Taylor -- and Kevin Faulk will get his snaps.
What uni's are they wearing sunday, i heard the jets are wearing the titans any word if the pats wear the throwbacks too
Tim Graham (2:09 PM)
No AFL uniforms this week. According to my NFL schedule, the jets will wear theirs for the first time Sept. 27.
John Anthony (Ipswich, MA)
You're right. With Tom Brady being the most important player not in that game last year. What exactly IS your reason for picking the Jets? Is it strictly that Mayo is out, so that's it? Was it that Sanchez was so dominant with, what? 1 touchdown pass against the Houstan Texans? How did you go from picking the Patriots in the AFC East to them losing to the Jets? I feel like you took a wrong turn somehwere.
Tim Graham (2:10 PM)
It's called independent thought. You should look into it.
Tim Graham (2:13 PM)
I clearly said I was hesitant to pick a winner for the game, but if I was going to base it strictly on what I saw in Week 1, I was going with the Jets. They're at home. They're coming off a dominant performance. They have a star player coming back. The Patriots are coming off a shaky performance. They look like they're still feeling their way. They won't have their defensive centerpiece. They also are still adjusting from the Richard Seymour trade. But you're obviously a fan who can see no way for the Patriots to lose.
Louie (Tampa, FL)
Damn, John needs to let go of some of that rage. He's become the Brandon Marshall of this chat room.
How many games do you think the pats will win this year?
Tim Graham (2:13 PM)
My preseason prediction was 12-4.
Internet Tough Guy (Cyberspace)
Yeah Tim, sounds like you took a wrong turn. Just like my fist is going to take a wrong turn into your face unless you pick the Pats to win every single game! punk!
john (worcester, ma)
Is Seymour going to be an all-pro this year? I think so. Just the way he rolled his shoulders in warmups was nostalgic.
Tim Graham (2:15 PM)
I didn't have a chance to watch the Raiders-Chargers game because I was writing about Bills-Patriots. But by all accounts he had a marvelous game, especially with little prep time.
Texas Hold'Em Dude (Las Vegas)
you're kind of pissy -- you should look into taking a class at the Reiss school of doing-your-job-well. sheesh.
Ed Hochuli (Chat Ref)
John, we don't tolerate chat rage around here. Hit the showers, rookie
will the league look at the "questionable" roughing the passer calls on Wilfork and Thomas?
Tim Graham (2:17 PM)
The NFL is constantly reviewing its calls to make them more consistent from game-to-game, crew-to-crew. I'm sure those hits have been analyzed at the league office.
Louie (Tampa, FL)
More likely to pop off at the mouth and say something stupid first - Rex Ryan, Randy Moss, Bart Scott or John Anthony from Ipswich, Mass?
Tim Graham (2:18 PM)
Wow. That's a tough one. Is alcohol involved?
Who will throw more picks this year? Delhomme, Cutler, or will Favre make a comeback?
Tim Graham (2:19 PM)
I'm going with Cutler. Delhomme could get pulled. Favre looks like he's going to be dumping off more than ever. Cutler's not coming off the field, and he could be playing from behind a lot, particularly without Urlacher.
justin (manchester, ct)
i have a feeling the qb will be no contact in in about 7 years with every player getting so big
Marc (Malden, MA)
Is the NFL's next step to make QB a flag-football position?
Bad Joke Guy (Open Mic Night)
O Tim! you just got beat by 7-2 off suit, on the river!!!!
John Anthony (Ipswich, MA)
Its not rage, its sports talk enthusiasm.
Tim Graham (2:21 PM)
I'll let my man John have the last word. Thanks to everybody for dropping by. As you might have noticed, Mike and I bring different styles to our chats. I'm already looking forward to the next one -- if they'll have me back.