Chat with ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNBoston.com New England Patriots blogger Mike Reiss stops by to chat.
Reiss joined ESPNBoston.com in September of 2009 and is a native New Englander who has stayed close to his roots. He first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005-2009, he covered the Patriots for the Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004.
Send your questions now and join Reiss Thursday at noon ET!
Mike Reiss (12:00 PM)
Good afternoon. Thanks for joining our weekly Thursday chat on ESPNBoston.com. Just back from the locker room, where Terdell Sands, Matt Light, Shawn Springs and Prescott Burgess were players drawing large media crowds. Sands had the media corps laughing by saying he has a T-shirt with the number 520 on it. He said it was his height and that reporters would have to do the thinking to convert it. Sands was nice enough to make the conversion -- he's 6-foot-8. Weighs 355. Size 15 shoe. He's a big run-stuffer.
Mike Reiss (12:01 PM)
Back in a few to get started...
Hey Mike,One thing that I have noticed that first round picks produces pretty good defensive players. Ray Lewis, Ed reed, Troy Polamalu, Sey, Asamougha, Peppers to name a few. Knowing this, why doesn't BB and Pats give much importance to first round picks and keep trading down for future picks? I understand the economics part of , but what's wrong in splurging once in a while for a 5 star player? How great the team be with a Polamalu in the back field, or a line backer like Ray lewis. Passed over Cushing and from what I hear, he is doing great for Texans!
Mike Reiss (12:04 PM)
I hear what you are saying, madmax, but I think they have pretty much focused on defense in the first round. Mayo is the main one who comes to mind. But even on top of that one, Seymour (2001), Warren (2003), Wilfork (2004) and Meriweather (2007) are other first-round defensive players in the Belichick era. I guess they could have traded up this year, but I think their approach of stockpiling 2s will pay off, especially because I think Darius Butler is like a 1.
What kind of offense do you expect the Patriots to come out in Sunday?
Mike Reiss (12:06 PM)
Rick, I think they'll look at the pass defense as the matchup they can get some favorable matchups, assuming they can hold up at the line of scrimmage. I think we'll see a similar mix to last week against the Falcons, with the 3-wide and 2-TE packages about 50-50. They'll try to strike balance, but it's going to be harder to run this week. Ravens haven't given up a 100-yard rusher in 38 games.
bill belichick (Foxboro, MA)
Hey Mike,Am I doing something wrong in the NFL draft? For the past 10 years, all our draft picks have not turned out to be as great as I would have liked. But Raven seem to have a knack for selecting high impact players (Lewis, Reed, Suggs, Mcalister, Ngata, Lewis and Flaco!) All I have to show during that period is Seymour, Wilfork and Mayo. All great players, but no way game changers like Reed or Lewis. How do they keep churning these players and how come we don't have such luck?
Mike Reiss (12:08 PM)
Bill Belichick, thanks for soliciting my opinion. It's flaterring. I think you have to tip your cap to the Ravens, but I also noticed that you left out their bad miss with Kyle Boller in 2003, and that you are a little hard on yourself by leaving out Logan Mankins as a first-round hit. It's probably a good reminder that no team hits on all its first-round picks. Your percentage is still good compared to others in the NFL.
John (San Francisco, CA)
Hi Mike, I wanted to get your perspective on Brandon Meriweather. In my estimation, he has really elevated his game this season. He is playing with more confidence and appears to be one of the on field leaders. Also, I have believed in Gary Guyton since we signed him as a free agent. He appears to be settling in very nicely as either a 4-3 middle linebacker and/or an inside backer in a 3-4. What is your take on how these two are performing.
Mike Reiss (12:09 PM)
I'm glad you brought it up, John, because I was hard on Meriweather last week for a missed tackle against the Jets on Cotchery's big play. I thought he rebounded with authority vs. the Falcons. I had someone in the NFL tell me yesterday that they think he's really good -- with excellent range and the chance to be an impact player. That reminded me that I can't always get sucked in by one play. Also agree on Guyton. I think both of these guys are going to be big parts of this defense for years to come.
Sean (Hudson, MA)
Mike, is there more to this Wilhite story than what we're hearing?
Mike Reiss (12:10 PM)
My hunch is yes, Sean, but I'm not aware of what it might be.
Dave (Portsmouth, NH)
Once again I have seen numerous comments and blogs on the WR Galloway being ineffective. Many think that the rookie Nunn should be given a shot to play since he cant do any worse than Galloway. I tend to agree that Nunn will be productive. I know that Galloway has a proven record on the field but he has yet to be productive with the Pats. Alex Smith didnt work out and he was cut. When do you feel the Pats will say enough is enough and just cut their losses? By the way, any news regarding the WR tryouts the Pats just held?
Mike Reiss (12:13 PM)
Dave, probably the biggest thing with Galloway is who would take his spot. You have Moss (back) and Welker (knee) ailing, and you better be sure you have the answer if you let him go. I think projecting Nunn is a major risk. As for the WR tryouts the Patriots held, those were more due diligence, according to Nick Caserio.
Great job as always Mike. Do you think that a small part of the reason the Patriots' pass rushers haven't been getting to the QB too often is the inconsistency in their snaps due to so many sub packages? Like a RB who needs time to warm up/get in a groove, do pass rushers (esp outside) need to get a feel for how they're being blocked and to set up their opponent for particular pass rush moves later in the game? Is Burgess a guy with multiple pass rush moves off the snap that this sporatic playing time pattern may be affecting? thanks.
Mike Reiss (12:15 PM)
Interesting thought, Pat, but my feeling is that the Patriots have simply been more coverage-based in recent weeks. It seems to me that they are rushing the standard four and dropping seven. The seven in coverage are generally fundamentally sound and make quarterbacks fit the ball into tight spots. They also mix up their looks. Up front, the four rushers are outnumbered and haven't won enough of those matchups.
Juan Rodriguez (Cicero, Illinois)
I think this weeks defensive game plan will be similar to the approach we used against the Falcons; stop the run, and double team the tight end. The pats did a good job of stopping Michael Turner, and only allowing one catch for Tony Gonzalez, however I think this weeks x-facor will be Cam Cameron, very good offensive coordinator for the ravens. your thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:17 PM)
I agree on the run game. I think that's where it has to start, because when the Ravens get that Rice/McGahee combo going, they are extremely tough. I'd put Mason as the other key, over the TE.
Joe (Mansfield, MA)
Patriots pretty much cooked in this game if Welker isn't good to go?
Mike Reiss (12:17 PM)
I wouldn't say that, Joe. I like the Patriots chances in this game, regardless of Welker. Obviously, they are a better team with him. But I think they can win this one without him.
Evan (Boston, Ma)
Hey Mike, the Chargers wer able to pass all over he Ravens when they played but could not get in the endzone besides some long touchdown plays. Do you see the Patriots throwing deep often in order to score given the Ravens red zone defensive prowess and the Pats red zone deficiency? If you were a betting man would you bet on Welker playing?
Mike Reiss (12:20 PM)
Evan, the Ravens held the Chargers to 0 TDs in 5 red zone trips. That was a huge key in the game. I think you've hit on a good point -- the Patriots should have some opportunities in the passing game if they can protect at the line of scrimmage. I like the deep ball showing up at least a few times in this game, again, only if the protection holds up. In terms of being a betting man with Welker playing, if the conditions are good, I'll take a stab at it and say "yes." I have no inside information and no good feel for it.
Rob (Plymouth, MA)
Mike, when the Patriots won their Super Bowls back in '01, '03 and '04 they rushed as a team for 1,793, 1,607 and 2,134 yards respectfully. I loved watching Fred Taylor pound the ball last week, so I wonder will we see a more balanced attack this season? Also, is Maroney turing out to be a bust? If so, wouldn't the Patriots have been better off if they had drafted Addai instead?
Mike Reiss (12:22 PM)
Rob, they'll need to be more balanced going forward, although it's going to be tough against a Ravens defense which is surrendering just 51 rushing yards per game through three contests in 2009. I understand the comparison to Addai, but I still think Maroney was the right choice. I think if the teams were reversed, the Colts would have jumped on Maroney. Injuries were tough to project.
Hey Mike -- Flacco has been really impressive, what do you think the Pats will do to stop him?
Mike Reiss (12:24 PM)
I think you try to take away the run first. That's why the possible loss of Wilfork could hurt, and that a guy like Terdell Sands could be active right off the bat. Then you lock in on Mason and see if Clayton/Washington can beat you. Heap is tough on third down and that will be a matchup to watch as well.
Jordan (Poway, CA)
Hi mike what is the key you think to stop the Raven's good offense and their stingy D?
Mike Reiss (12:26 PM)
We just talked about the offense, Jordan, so let's focus on the defense. To me, the entire key to this game is protection at the line of scrimmage, and the rhythm in the passing game between Brady and his receivers. The Ravens play a similar scheme to the Jets, and we saw what happened to Brady when the timing was disrupted. So establishing a rhythm early would be where I start.
David (North Attleboro)
Brian Hoyer and Isaiah Stanback have not started any NFL games at QB. I'm surprised that the Patriots still haven't picked up a veteran as a third QB. Any thoughts on what they are waiting for?
Mike Reiss (12:28 PM)
A better option, I assume. They could have had Feeley, Garcia and others, but passed. If they haven't taken the plunge by now, it makes me think they just don't like the supply.
Russ (Raleigh, NC)
Hoyer still only backup QB (well, there is Stanback). Belichick really thinks that's good enough? Any options out there that the Pats could explore for some experience at backup QB?
Mike Reiss (12:29 PM)
In terms of options, Russ, Jeff Garcia was just released by the Eagles. Also, Damon Huard is available.
David (North Attleboro)
Ben Watson was split wide last week more often then I have ever seen him before. Was last just matching up against Atlanta or do you think we will see more of that?
Mike Reiss (12:30 PM)
I think that was a matchup situation against the Falcons defense. We also saw Chris Baker split out wide, which put Moss and Aiken in the slots, with free releases.
Hey Mike, Two part question. Do we have to surrender the conditional draft pick to Baltimore now that Burgess landed on the practice squad? With Burgess not dressing for games as a back-up, and the signing of Sands, does that indicate that the Pats will use primarily a 4-3 due to the complete lack of depth at the LB spot? Thanks.
Mike Reiss (12:32 PM)
They've only played three snaps of the 3-4 since Mayo went down, by my count. So I'd expect more of the 4-3 until Mayo is back. In terms of Burgess, that pick is contingent on how many games Burgess is on the active roster. Since Burgess has been waived and re-signed, I'm not sure if the considerations are still in play.
Pat Chung seems to have been surpassed on the depth chart by Brandon McGowan, something that few would have predicted at the start of training camp. What do you think is the main reason for this? Does it have more to do with McGowan's development or Chung's ineptitude?
Mike Reiss (12:33 PM)
Nick, I'd say it's more a result of McGowan than Chung. Also, if you consider Bill Belichick's history, he generally brings the rookies along a bit slower (e.g. Meriweather in 2007). I wouldn't read too much into that one.
Joe (Rockland, MA)
Mike, is there any reasoning to why the Pats seem to get a lot more contributions from scrap heap guys (McGowan), undrafted FA's (Guyton), and late round picks (Pryor) over guys we've spent high draft picks on such as Chung and Brace? Isn't this a little disconcerting?
Mike Reiss (12:34 PM)
I'd say it's way early on this one, Joe. I remember in 2003, some were panning the Ty Warren pick because his production was limited through four games. Now look at Warren. There are a lot of factors at play -- depth chart, techniques etc.
Hey Mike, a lot is being made about resigning Vince but I feel resigning Guyton is just as important. With him, Mayo and McKenzie, we would not need to look at inside LB for the next 8 yrs or so. He is a FA at the end of the year.
Mike Reiss (12:35 PM)
The Patriots will still have Guyton's rights even though his contract expires after 2009. He would be an exclusive rights free agent. That means the Patriots have exclusive negotiating rights with him.
Jeremy (Montclair, NJ)
Mike, how do you think the Pats which approach this game from a defensive standpoint? Do you think they'll try and take away the passing attack or focus on stopping the run?
Mike Reiss (12:37 PM)
We touched on this a little earlier, Jeremy, but it's a good chance to pass along some intel from other NFL teams who have scouted the Patriots. One of the things they say is that the front 6 and front 7 deserve a lot of credit for their gap discipline. This is often seen on the backside of plays. They are extremely sound. With this in mind, I think that stopping the run is where it starts, and the Patriots will need more of the same.
Hey Mike, any update on Wes Welker? Can we finally count on having our full compliment of receivers (that unfortunately includes the corpse of Joey Galloway) this week?
Mike Reiss (12:38 PM)
No specific update on Welker, other than that he was limited at practice Wednesday. He hasn't been in the locker room the last 2 days when media members were present.
Do you think Gary Guyton could one day be thought of as highly as Jerod Mayo? He has great potential!
Mike Reiss (12:39 PM)
I think Guyton can be a productive starter in the NFL. The label of undrafted player should no longer apply with him. I think Mayo is on another level. He can be a star.
Who do you think is better Wilhite or Springs? Doesn't Wilhite usually start over Springs, but they play almost equal time, except for last week due to the injury.
Mike Reiss (12:40 PM)
It's apples to oranges, as I see it Al. Springs is more versatile. His flexibility to play safety helps the Patriots disguise what they do at times. Wilhite is a bit quicker and perhaps more fluid in his movements. Not as physical at the line of scrimmage. Both are good players in their own distinct ways. Depending on the matchup, I'd feel comfortable going with either player.
Any word on how Mayo is progressing?
Mike Reiss (12:41 PM)
Reporters saw Mayo on Monday walking without crutches. That's a sign of progress. In terms of a timetable for his return, I don't know.
Mike, Getting a complex you don't like me anymore. How long do they stay with Galloway if he still doesn't "get it". I guess the problem is if you get half way into the season, there are fewer options.
Mike Reiss (12:43 PM)
Nothing personal, Chris. Still figuring out how to get to all the questions. Quite a few in here, and some of them are repeats so I try to mix them up. I'm going to defer to Tedy Bruschi on this one. He had some interesting things to stay on this one in this week's Bruschi's Breakdown, which will be posted today on ESPNBoston.com. My feelings were articulated earlier when I said "If you're going to replace Galloway, you have to be sure you have his replacement on hand." I don't think the Patriots do.
Will Ron Brace be seeing any action in the near future? Or are Sands and Pryor the go-to guys to fill any gaps?
Mike Reiss (12:44 PM)
Seems to me that Brcae took a step back Week 2 against the Jets and will have to win some confidence back from the coaching staff. My guess is that Sands takes some of his time. Pryor is a bit of a different player. A little bit less of a run-stuffer and more of a penetrator.
Maybe we should one of our 2nd round picks next year to the Ravens for the right to have Ed Reed tutor Meriweather.... I'm sure the Miami connection would produce some productivity there.
Mike Reiss (12:44 PM)
Laughter in the press room at Gillette.
Alex (Charleston, SC)
If and when Welker returns full-health, where do you see Edelman lining up on offense? Does he simply become a backup for the slot position?
Mike Reiss (12:45 PM)
I could see a three-man combination of Moss, Welker and Edelman. Edelman is more than just a slot guy, which he's proven already.
Dave (new york, ny)
Mike - love how the mailbag and blog. you must love having access to more resources. I think we all knew the offense would need to gel, but I'm wondering this week how do you think they're going to fair against baltimore? Do you think they will try to establish the run, and throw more RB screens to Kevin Faulk then they have done inthe first few games? My thoughts are that this will help open up a few play action fakes in hopes of making some big plays
Mike Reiss (12:49 PM)
Thanks Dave. I feel like there are some great resources at my disposal here at ESPN. I also feel like there is time to dive into things, like base defense vs. sub packages etc. I appreciate you taking note of that. In terms of the offense, I think it will be a mix, but in the end, they'll have to make their way through the air. Very few teams have been successful pounding it against the Ravens. They have created 13 negative running plays already this season.
Nate (Woburn, MA)
Mike, when does your buddy Chris Forsberg start on ESPN Boston?
Mike Reiss (12:49 PM)
Chris started today. He's working on a piece to my left as we speak.
Billy (San Francisco)
Hey Mike, I noticed that the pats lined up in the 3-4 defense to start the game vs. the falcons with burgess and banta-cain standing up. Do you think this was just to throw the falcons off or is this something the pats might try and do throughout the year?
Mike Reiss (12:50 PM)
Good observation, Billy. I think it's just another thing for offenses to prepare for. Burgess held the edge well on the second play, a run to his side.
I think the Ravens have a far better defense then the Jets. The scheme is the same but the players are better all around. The Pats didn't play well against the Jets. I think they will atone this week against the Ravens. What do you think the final score will be?
Mike Reiss (12:50 PM)
I'll go Patriots 23, Ravens 20.
Do you envision Sands playing much this week, or is it too soon? His size in its own would seem to help against the run. Also, if he does play, would he be the tallest Pats player to ever play in a game?
Mike Reiss (12:51 PM)
I think he plays. Put him over Matt Birk and see if he can control the middle of the line. Intriguing addition.
Do you think the Patriots, given their lack of a pass rush so far, will fare better against Flacco, who seems to be more of a pure pocket passer?
Mike Reiss (12:53 PM)
Glenn, I don't think we'll all of a sudden see a blitz-fest from the Patriots. The Ravens line of Gaither/Grubbs/Birk/Chester/Oher is also tough to get around. To this point, we've seen the Patriots mostly rush four and drop seven in my view, and in doing so, they've remained disciplined in not giving up the big play. I would expect more of the same Sunday.
Matt from the car (Chelmsford)
Hey Mike, Do you think Brandon Tate will play this year? If so, do you think he can make a differance? And can you compare him to a current or past player?
Mike Reiss (12:55 PM)
I do think Tate will play this year, Matt. I haven't seen enough of him to know if he can make a difference. In terms of a comparison, based on scouting reports from places like Pro Football Weekly, he struck me as a Deion Branch-type in terms of the smoothness with which he gets out of his breaks. I could be way off on that. I think it's important to point out that I've never seen him play and I'm only going off what I read.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
You have to imagine the Ravens will employ the same type of pressure the Jets did in week two. How will the Pats adjust in pass protection against Baltimore?
Mike Reiss (12:57 PM)
I didn't think the Patriots problems were as much in pass protection against the Jets, as it was the lack of sync between Brady and his receivers. Brady was hit 7 times that game and part of that was how the Patriots were outnumbered up front. That forced Brady to get rid of the ball quicker and he wasn't on the same page enough with the receivers. I think they'll be better this week.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Mike, do you think there any more future head coaches on the current Belichick coaching staff?
Mike Reiss (12:58 PM)
For sure. In time, I could see Matt Patricia (linebackers) as a successful head coach. Ditto for Pepper Johnson (defensive line) and Bill O'Brien (quarterbacks).
Mike, I'm real impressed with Bodden hope they can sign him. I also like McGowans toughness what is his contract status. With the way the secondary has played if the Pats can get a solid pass rush I see this defense being top notch by years end. What's your take.
Mike Reiss (1:00 PM)
No disagreement from me, Rich, in terms of Bodden and McGowan (signed through 2010). Also, you figure they will get Mayo back and that will help. I still have questions on the defense, but I'd say it's been a pleasant surprise to this point. Hard to argue with the results. It's helped that they have only been on the field for 148 plays, second fewest in the NFL (behind the Giants).
Mike Reiss (1:00 PM)
We've hit 1 p.m., but I'd like to go a little overtime here. Let's knock out some more. Good football chattre.
ProPlayer (North Reading)
Mike, who do you think is the most threatning out of the three RB's of Baltimore.
Mike Reiss (1:02 PM)
I think Rice, because of his quickness, will be the tougher matchup for the Patriots. They always seem to do well against the bigger backs like McGahee.
Think we'll see a big play on defense on Sunday? The Pats D are about due.
Mike Reiss (1:02 PM)
That is one area that stands out. Just three turnovers. The Ravens, on the other hand, have six.
Ed (New Haven, CT)
Hey Mike, So about Maroney, I know he's been dissapointing and shown flashes of brilliance. But one thing I notice watching him run is that he does a lot better when he hits a hole with force as opposed to pitter pattering dancing waiting for a hole when he gets to the LoS. Any word if they are working on this with him? Because I'm sure it's a subconsious thing he doesn't realize he's doing. Because the big games he's had in the past he's been all North and South. Do you think they'll keep him or let him go at the end of his contract and could we be expecting a first round or 2nd round RB taken in the near future?
Mike Reiss (1:03 PM)
Definitely an area of focus for Maroney. Fred Taylor has also coached him up in that area. Maroney is signed through 2010. I see him with the club through at least training camp next year, and depending on where things are at that point, a decision would be made.
no way they can win this especially without welker
Mike Reiss (1:04 PM)
You could be right, Zack. While Edelman is no Welker, he's looked pretty good to me.
Hey Mike,I was reading your mailbag and you brought up the idea of trading for Deion Branch if the Pats reach a point where they give up on Galloway. What if the situation comes up where Welker is out for more games due to his health, do you think they will try to work out a trade with Seattle to get Branch then?
Mike Reiss (1:06 PM)
Thanks for reading Camilo. It's probably unlikely based on Seattle trading him back to the team from whom they acquired him, and also Seattle having some injury issues at WR last year and probably wanting to keep the insurance. But I'd still explore it from a Patriots perspective. Branch might even agree to a restructure to lower his $4.9m salary to come back and play with Brady. It's all speculation and was just a scenario that interested me.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mike: Let me start off by saying I'm not a Pats fan and never will be but the team is interesting to watch. I know that the Pats like to play running back by committee but Fred Taylor really seems to be their best option right now. Can you see them going with him for the bulk of the carries for a while or will they stick with the committee backfield?
Mike Reiss (1:09 PM)
I think Taylor deserves to be the lead guy, J.B., and should get the bulk of the carries. He had 21 carries last week and I've heard people say "How many games like that can Taylor have?" I think you want him around the 15-17 range to keep him fresh. That would mean you sprinkle the rest of them between Maroney/Morris/Faulk/Green-Ellis. Six of Taylor's 21 carries came on the final drive, which if the same situation presents itself this week, should go to someone else to preserve him.
Hey Mike, Any updates on Wilfork's ankle?
Mike Reiss (1:10 PM)
The last update is that he didn't practice Wednesday. Reporters are at practice now. I don't have an update today. Wilfork was not in the locker room and did not speak with reporters today.
Girish (Houston, TX)
Maybe they knew all along that they were going to be a 4-3 team this year. The trading of vrabel, the interest in Peppers, not drafting a 3-4 OLB prospect, trade for burgess. All these events now make a lot more sense. What are your thoughts in this? The move to 4-3 could also be tied to so many other teams now looking for 3-4 players and not enough of them being available. I also think that this helps the defense going forward because it seems like the 4-3 they are playing is less complicated that the 3-4 they played and it allows the players to play fast.
Mike Reiss (1:12 PM)
Interesting thought, Girish. I think everything really changed when Mayo was hurt. They've only played three snaps in the 3-4 since. I still believe they will play some 3-4, but they've clearly transitioned to more of the 4-3.
Mike,With the Ravens essentially playing the same defense as we saw from the Jets in week 2, but without the corners like Revis and Sheppard, do you think Brady will shred the blitz a la 2007?PS Had trouble finding where to post questions for the bag, is there an easy link to help find it?
Mike Reiss (1:13 PM)
Thanks for the heads up on the mailbag, Greg. I will check on that. We had talked about setting up a better system so the 'bag is more easily seen and there is a link to ask questions. I'll get on that today. Agree that the Ravens don't have a Revis-like presence. That should create some opportunities for the Patriots in the passing game, if they can hold up at the line of scrimmage.
Tedy couldn't make it?
Mike Reiss (1:14 PM)
Tedy, I believe, is going to chat tomorrow.
Mike, whats your take on Randy Moss... I know he has had issues with taking plays off (run plays to the other side of the field) but is there more to it than that.. More to it than we can see?
Mike Reiss (1:16 PM)
Moss is doing great. That was a hatchet job last week in which someone wrote that he was a dog. Couldn't have been further from reality. The guy was in excruciating pain and came up with a valiant 10-catch effort. He was having his back stretched out in the huddle by Sam Aiken. The fact that the perception is out there that Moss dogged it is too bad. He played 76 snaps, more than any receiver, and ran so many different routes it was like a clinic in Receiving 101. What a disappointment that this is even a topic.
Mike Reiss (1:17 PM)
I know it isn't you, specifically, but that one just frustrates me. Moss might not always be nice to reporters, but he deserves better in this case.
It seems to me that the tackling in the NFL has been disgusting for a while now. That being said, I think the Patriots have done a much better job so far this year than over the past few years. Do you see this?
Mike Reiss (1:17 PM)
Yes, I do see it Tim, especially in the secondary.
gene (hilton head ,sc)
Mike, Not hearing much about 2d round picks except for Butler.What's going on with the other three?
Mike Reiss (1:18 PM)
Chung is the fourth safety and has played sparingly in a seven-DB package. Good special teams player. Brace looked like he took a mini step back against the Jets and is working to regain some confidence of the coaching staff. Vollmer is the third tackle and looks like a strong blocker when in the game.
jimmy (boston, ma)
A little off the pats here but how is Rasheed Wallace looking? Typical Sheed with 10 points 8 boards in 20 min? just doing his relief work for the celts? what do you think mike?
Mike Reiss (1:20 PM)
Love it, Jimmy. Right now, I'm a one-trick pony -- all Pats, all the time. But I have to tell you, down the road, one of the things I'm excited about is the chance to branch out some and become more well rounded. Maybe some Celtics talk come winter.
Mike, Do you think the Ravens will be the first team to get 300 yards of offense versus the Patriots this year?
Mike Reiss (1:20 PM)
I'll say no.
Do you know if an ESPNDetroit is in the works? No offense to Dallas or San Diego (who I believe both have one or are on the way), but I am pretty confident the Detroit teams have a larger national following and history...
Mike Reiss (1:21 PM)
Not sure on that one, Josh, but I would imagine that every city is on the radar at some point. Appreicate the interest.
Mike Reiss (1:21 PM)
Let's go for another 10 here.
patriots have played 3 solid teams and the ravens best opponent has been a shaky chargers team. this can only lead in one direction. are the ravens overrated and patriots perhaps underrated?
Mike Reiss (1:22 PM)
I think both are good teams. Going on the road and winning in San Diego is tough to do.
Sports writers love the "Ravens haven't allowed a 100 yrd rusher in "x" amount of games" line too much. Go back to their game against the Giants last year where they got torn up on the ground for 207 yards and Bradshaw had 96 yards. They can be run on. That statistic that gets thrown around is more of a technicality.
Mike Reiss (1:22 PM)
Excellent point, Rigidy. At the same time, I think the statistic reflects a defense that is hard to run on.
Zach (Portland, ME)
Kelly Washington is leading the Ravens in receptions this year, albeit with 12 catches. Could the Patriots have missed on him as a wide receiver? I know he was an excellent special teamer, but he seems to be proving himself as a legit target for Joe Flacco.
Mike Reiss (1:23 PM)
My sense, Zach, is that he just wasn't a fit for this system. Might be a case of where the Ravens system finally suits him best.
Matt (East Brookfield, MA)
Brady just needs to shake the rust off - he'll be back no doubt. You think there's any chance that the Lions will let us have Calvin Johnson for that 2011 First Round Draft choice?
Mike Reiss (1:24 PM)
No chance on that one, Matt.
RAYGORDON REID ( BALTIMORE MD 21202)
NHL QUESTION TO MIKE REISS AT 12.50 PM HI MIKE HOW YOU SEE THE BRUINS THIS YEAR
Mike Reiss (1:25 PM)
I'm a big hockey fan and feel like I have a little bit of a working knowledge of the Bruins. I think they have another solid year. Hopefully more on that to come in ensuing months, maybe after the football season is over.
How did a guy as big as Sands get cut by the Raiders? Due to his size does he fail to play with good leverage? Is he really slow? Does he take plays off? It seems that he has world class size and should be a great player. Once Wilfork comes back I can see Sands and Vince playing d tackles in the 4-3 and the other team not being able to run the ball in the a or b gaps.
Mike Reiss (1:28 PM)
Evan, I'm not sure of all the details surrounding Sands's release. I know he had been paid a $1.9 million offseason roster bonus, so it was a bit curious. It was also interesting to me that no other team signed him. He was going to visit Cincinnati, but ended up coming to New England and signing here instead.
Alex (Sandwich, MA)
Mike I'm going to look ahead a bit to 2011. When I first read about the Seymour trade I was a little ticked off. Besides the obvious loss of an impact player, I saw the 1st round pick (which will probably be a top 10) as an eventual Belichickian draft day trade down. Given the increased criticism that we have heard about his drafting, do you think coach will finally bite the bullet and draft a top 10 pick in 2011?
Mike Reiss (1:29 PM)
Tough to tell now, Alex, but I think the criticism is a bit off. Mayo was a solid top 10 pick in 2008.
Big Dave (NC)
Mike, what has been the best and/or most unexpected part of your move to ESPN Boston?
Mike Reiss (1:30 PM)
Big Dave, probably the weekly interaction with Tedy Bruschi. I'm learning a lot about the game from talking with him. Hopefully, he's learning a bit about the media business from working with me.
Jeffrey M (Springfield,MA)
Hey Mike,love the new diggs at espnBoston. Thank you for filling it with good articles. So here is the question. With the defending champs Steelers at 1-2 and last years great Titans(13-3) are 0-3, why no hubbub? Why is it when the patriots loose to a good Jets team, everyone thought that we're done. I saw some rankings that had the Pats at like #12 in the league. Then we beat Atlanta whom was ranked in the same list at like #5. Now this week we face a team some consider to be the best in the league. If we beat them would people say it was a fluke or that we are back?
Mike Reiss (1:31 PM)
I wouldn't read too much into the power rankings, Jeffrey. My general feeling is that the Patriots will be in contention come December. This is a good team, whether they beat Baltimore or not.
Mike Reiss (1:32 PM)
Let's end it there. We went a bit overboard today, but I was energized by the questions and the chance to talk some good football. Tedy Bruschi chats at noon tomorrow on ESPNBoston.com. Enjoy the rest of the day.