Chat with 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 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. Since 2005 he has 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 and thanks for joining the chat. This is one of my favorite times of the NFL year. In some ways, I like it more than the games because it's about constructing a team, and you see those strategic plans come to life. I'd expect the Patriots to be busy in their own way.
Mike Reiss (12:00 PM)
The biggest thing today, from a procedural standpoint, is the Patriots tendering offers to their restricted free agents.
What on your thoughts on the Pats possibly taking Tebow? Do you think this is the most important draft of the Bill Belichick era?
Mike Reiss (12:02 PM)
My thought on Tebow is that if the Patriots take him, it wouldn't be with QB in mind. He'd have to be a TE-type for them and that's a projection. In the end, I'd guess that other needs will trump the urge to draft Tebow, unless it's deeper in the draft. As for the importance of this draft, I don't think it's a stretch to call it the most important of Belichick's time in New England.
Craig (Norwich, CT)
What should we expect from the Patriots tomorrow, and in the days that follow?
Mike Reiss (12:03 PM)
I'd say expect the unexpected. They always throw a curveball in there. To sum it up, I'd say they focus on taking care of their own, add a few players from other teams, and then make some decisions on players who might have bonuses coming up and if they should be brought back.
What are your thoughts on the possible new ot rules?
Mike Reiss (12:04 PM)
I don't like them if they are going to be used only in the playoffs. I don't understand how they could vote that in -- playing by one set of rules in the regular season and then another set of rules when it matters most, in the playoffs.
Mike, you don't like the idea to add another age 30+ RB to the roster. But how about shipping Morris or Maroney out to creat a spot for, say, Thomas Jones, or Darren Sproles? Isn't this a huge upgrade (I know the price could be too high, though)?
Mike Reiss (12:05 PM)
Jones would be an upgrade. Like you say, MarkJ, it all comes down to price. I've flip-flopped on Maroney. Sometimes I think a fresh start would be best. Other times, I think the Patriots can get more out of him.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What did you think of the old Foxboro Stadium to watch a football game?
Mike Reiss (12:06 PM)
Terrific. When I went to the games as a fan, it would be in the last row and I'd look up in the press box and see Ron Hobson, Kevin Mannix, Jim Donaldson and some of the other longtime writers. I remember thinking 'I'd like to be in there some day.' Great place to watch the game, not too high, perfect view.
Ian (Hamden, CT)
Hi Mike. What are the chances the Patriots inquire about Greg Olsen? With 3 second-round picks (and a good possibility one of those might be used on a TE anyway), do you feel this would be a fair trade for both sides? Previous Patriot TE's have had mixed results and Oslen has already established himself as an above-average receiver. I have always wondered how much Brady's game would improve with a good-great TE to throw the ball to.
Mike Reiss (12:07 PM)
I'd say high. Olsen is a good player and if the Bears would trade him for a second-round pick, I think that's a deal that should be seriously considered. Might be a situation where a new offense coming in to Chicago under Mike Martz doesn't value a player like Olsen.
Hi Mike,What are the chances the Pats offer up a second round pick to Arizona for Anquan Boldin? I realize they robbed, I mean grabbed Moss from Al Davis for a 4th, but Boldin is a warrior and a solid locker room guy. Your thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:08 PM)
One report said the Cardinals are only looking for a third. I'd look into it. Boldin is excellent. Contract considerations would be part of it, as you wouldn't just acquire him, but he'd be looking for an extension. He'd also have to check out health-wise and from a locker-room chemistry standpoint. Don't know enough about him to know those answers right now.
Aaron (College Park, MD (GO TERPS!))
Exciting time for football, Mike! I don't know about you, but when I saw Leon Washington was tendered with a 2nd round pick, it got me pondering. We need help in the playmaking department, and we have three 2nd round picks. Also, Belichick has loved picking up players that consistently give us match-up problems, and Leon "better get some tape for your ankles" Washington definitely fits the mold. It gives me a few flashbacks to when Welker was tendered for a 2nd and a 7th and we snagged him. Thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:09 PM)
I think Washington is excellent, but with him coming off injury, I don't see the Patriots giving up the second-rounder for him.
Is Brandon Marshall a realistic possibility in New England. Maybe a sign and trade in a deal for a second and a 4th?
Mike Reiss (12:11 PM)
No, I'd rule that one out Robbie. One of the things the Patriots need to focus on this free-agent period is not just getting good players, but also those who will fill the locker room with the right approach. I don't think the Patriots would view Marshall as checking out in those areas.
It seems that a few quality players are available for picks (Olsen for a 2nd, Boldin for a 3rd), do you see the Patriots using one of their picks to trade for a veteran? Or do you think that they will try to infuse their team with youth?
Mike Reiss (12:12 PM)
I think they will use the four picks, but it's a tough one to answer now because you don't know what opportunities are going to be available to you. I like the idea of Olsen for a 2.
Shane (Beacon Falls, CT)
Mike,Why are the Pats waiting until the last day to tender their RFA's? Any chance there's a contract extention in the works for one of the players?
Mike Reiss (12:13 PM)
I think it's more procedural Shane. Maybe they look at it and say 'No need to do it before today and let everyone know about our guys early.'
Mike, is it correct that the Pats do not have a third round pick in this draft. If so, how likely is it that BB will trade down to get a 3rd rounder, knowing that he loves to have picks throughout the entire draft?
Mike Reiss (12:14 PM)
That is true, as the Patriots' third-rounder is owned by Oakland from the Derrick Burgess trade. In retrospect, that deal was a win for the Raiders. I don't see Belichick trading down just to fill the hole. Any trade down would be contingent on how the draft board was taking shape.
Mike B. (Springfield, MA)
Mike,With Welker rehabbing and Moss entering the final year of his contract, I think Wide Reciever is a huge need, what do you see the Patriots doing ?
Mike Reiss (12:15 PM)
I think they'll add another veteran. The only issue there is that this free-agent crop isn't too deep. We've touched on Boldin. Derrick Mason (Ravens) and Josh Reed (Bills) are two names that stand out to me as players who could help this team.
Hey Mike, do you think it's possibly that the Pats will totally re-vamp their running back crew? Since Thomas Jones is available, and the Pats already have multiple RB's in their 30's, i wondered if it was possible for them to re-sign Faulk, sign Jones, part ways with the other RB's (including Maroney) and then sign some fresh legs via the draft. Does this sound possible?
Mike Reiss (12:16 PM)
It's possible, Cory, and the answer probably comes down to what Jones would command in a contract. I don't see the Patriots getting into big0bucks territory.
Mark (Boston, MA)
Hey Mike. Just read your article on '10 Possible Targets' for the Pats. I was wondering why Julius Peppers wasn't mentioned.From the player standpoint, could he not possibly pro-long his career in the 3-4 as an edge rusher, and enjoy competing every season at NE?From the Pats perspective, can't we front load his contract given the uncapped year, and still maintain the salary structure they currently utilize in capped seasons? Also given the uncapped year, an assuming they are a richer franchise, can we not expect them to spend a la the Red Sox? From a fans viewpoint I want to see the additional cash flow they generate at Foxboro reinvested.
Mike Reiss (12:18 PM)
I didn't mention Peppers because I don't see it as realistic if the numbers are $10 million or more. When building a team, my thought is that it's hard to go do that when you have some players in your own locker room who are priorities for extensions that haven't been finalized (Wilfork, Mankins, Gostkowski, Brady). As for the uncapped year and the Patriots spending big-time, I don't see them taking that route. They might take advantage of some more flexibility, but as the Raiders and Redskins have shown, simply spending it isn't always the answer. Spending it smartly is the way to go.
faulk plays a critical role in this offense, but father time is catching up to him - we all know belichick wanted percy harvin last year, do they sign sproles or look at picking mccluster this year?
Mike Reiss (12:18 PM)
I think they'd bring Faulk back for another year and then see what opportunities come to them in the draft.
Tom Brady (Costa Rica)
Hey Mike - when do you think the patriots will offer me a long term contract? think it will get done before the season starts?
Mike Reiss (12:19 PM)
Thanks for checking in TB12. I think it gets done before the season starts.
Who was the weak link on the D line when BB moved Wilfork to end vs the Ravens
Mike Reiss (12:19 PM)
Wilfork replaced Jarvis Green at that spot.
Hey Mike,I'm wondering if you could try to replicate for Patriots Nation Belichick's horizontal and vertical stacks for the NFL draft. Would love to know how you compare players at different positions with the same grade. Thanks,Will
Mike Reiss (12:21 PM)
That's a big undertaking Will. I'll be honest, I don't think I know the players well enough to create a realistic board. I could probably sketch out an example of how the board works, though.
Did you get any sense from the Combine about how hard or tough the questions Patriots staff were in interviews? What kinds of things are they looking for in a rookie?
Mike Reiss (12:23 PM)
Not too much, GlasgowPat. My sense is that it wasn't overly intense, just standard information-gathering stuff. One of the big things the Patriots look for is commitment and they try to determine how important football is to the player. From a media perspective, one of the only things I feel we can take out of the combine is how the player reacts when peppered with questions in a pressure environment.
When evaluating the team's previous decisions of not drafting certain players, not only physical measurements and how they fit into the system should be considered. There is also the character factor. Some teams are more committed to take guys with excessive character, others are not. I don't think the Pats are (there is a difference between "hard to discipline" and "excentric", like for example Moss or Dillon are/were no excentrics, like 85 or TO). With this in mind, should players like Weatherspoon, who was mentioned as one prospect too self centered, be counted out as possible choices for NE?
Mike Reiss (12:23 PM)
I wouldn't count him out, _bb. At the Senior Bowl, he was one of the true leaders of that team. More than anything, he just might not be the best fit for what the Patriots traditionally do on defense.
Do you see Kevin Walter as a fit for our #3 reciever?
Mike Reiss (12:25 PM)
I think he could help them in that role. He might draw some interest around the NFL, which could drive the price up.
I know that you like McCluster, so where do you see the Pats possibly targeting him in the draft? Also, what are your impressions of Sergio Kindle and Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap, prior to his off the field issues this season, was a projected as a top ten pick. Do you think BB's relationship with Urban Meyer plays into the possibility of selecting Dunlap in the first round?
Mike Reiss (12:26 PM)
McCluster looks like a second-round guy to me. Lot of questions around Dunlap, so I see the Patriots staying away, regardless of the relationship between Belichick and Meyer. Kindle will probably be gone by 22.
Mike, really enjoyed your piece on Tyrone McKenzie regarding his extensive participation behind the scenes last season and during the off-season. What do you know about Shawn Crable? Was he at the meetings and hitting the weights like McKenzie?
Mike Reiss (12:27 PM)
Thanks Gregg. Don't know that for sure on Crable, but my sense is yes. I often saw him in the locker room throughout last season, which leads me to believe he's been around.
Mike,Are Pats gonna kick tires on any FA punter or pick one in draft? Zoltan Mesko, from what I hear, is pretty good? Do you think he will be available in 4th round? Or we have to move up to get him.
Mike Reiss (12:28 PM)
There is not much out there in the FA market for punters. Mesko, from Michigan, is considered a late-round prospect.
Hey Mike,Do you think we should invest our 22nd pick on a RB, or a WR? The way I see it, we can definitely pick an OLB/DE with one of our seconds. WR and RB are not that deep in draft. Whom would you like to see in our uniform, Best (fast!) or Matthews (more of a power back)?
Mike Reiss (12:29 PM)
I'd take Mathews over Best and part of my thinking is to get back to a physical mindset. But in terms of RB or WR in the first round, the question is hard to answer without knowing what defender you are passing up. I'd generally lean toward a DL if the right guy was there.
Hey Mike,What are the chances we try to sign Dunta Robinson? If Bodden does not return, we need a CB and Robinson albeit expensive will be a solid corner.
Mike Reiss (12:30 PM)
I like Robinson. I do think the Patriots will deem Bodden the better fit, so they'll focus their attention on him.
Can you speculate on scenarios that involve trading Adalius Thomas -- but keeping him OUT of the division ? I ask because I believe both parties are at fault, for although Thomas has become a pain and a distraction, I also believe the Pats consistently blew the chance to utilize his skills to best advantage. Letting the Jets get him would be disastrous, for a chip-on-the-shoulder Adalius would be a Patriot-killer in Ryan's aggressive scheme. Any thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:31 PM)
I've heard two schools of thought on this: Some say 'let him go the Jets' because he's not very good. Others say 'that would be tough to hand him to a division rival.' The biggest thing to me is that Thomas is owed $4.9 million and I'd find it hard to believe any team would be willing to pay that based on what they see on film.
Eric (Bean Town)
Any word on the tenders yet?
Mike Reiss (12:32 PM)
Haven't heard anything on the tenders. Think the deadline is 4 p.m.
David (Norwalk, CT)
Mike, what's the real value of those second rounders in *this* draft? Supposedly, it's "deep". If the Patriots went after a RFA with a 2nd rounder are they overpaying (relatively speaking)?
Mike Reiss (12:34 PM)
I think it depends on the need. A tight end like Greg Olsen, to me, would be worth the 2 because: A) This is a weak year at TE in free agency; B) The Pats have a pretty big need there and it's unreleastic to think a rookie could fill it.
antonio gotti III (scranton,pa)
Hey Mike! Who do you suspect the patriots going after in free agency and the draft?Names??.And will they have enough to make another run at the super bowl?
Mike Reiss (12:35 PM)
I posted a list of 10 names on the site today. Check it out.http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nfl/columns/story?columnist=reiss_mike&id=4964395
Who do you like the Pats to take in the first round? With all the turnover at linebacker over the past couple of seasons, I'd love to see Brandon Graham come to town. Athletic, can succeed in a 3-4 or a 4-3. Thoughts?
Mike Reiss (12:36 PM)
I'm wondering if Graham will even be there but I think he'd be a great pick. No guarantee he's on the field on early downs right away, but he immediately upgrades the pass rush on third down and contributes on special teams. Some concern as to how he will hold up against the run.
Mike B. (Springfield, MA)
Hi Mike,Do you have any updates on Vince Wilfork, at the combine, Mr. Kraft said they were close but I haven't read anything since then.
Mike Reiss (12:36 PM)
Maybe I'm really boring, but I think Maurkice Pouncey at 22 would be a great pick. The center postion has been the weak link in the O-Line since 2007 and Pouncey is the only true difference maker at that spot in the draft. I believe he would have a Nick Mangold like impact. And being a Florida guy, BB probably knows him pretty well already.
Mike Reiss (12:37 PM)
Agree. Pouncey, assuming he checks out off the field, looks like one of the safest picks in the draft to me, with Mangold-type potential.
Mike, thanks for chatting! If Bodden leaves us, where do we go next to get a starting CB? Do you think Bodden and Butler will be starters, or will Springs make a run?
Mike Reiss (12:38 PM)
If Bodden left, I think you turn right to Dunta Robinson if he's available and the price is within reason. Otherwise, I think the answer comes from the draft. If Bodden returns, I think it's Butler and Bodden as the starters.
Hey Mike, I've read in last weeks chat that you think the Pats make all of their 2nd rd selections in this years draft. Based on history I just don't see it. What leads you to believe this year is different?
Mike Reiss (12:39 PM)
It seems like they have more needs. That being said, it's very difficult to come out and say, decisively, that they'll make all the picks. You never know what opportunities present themselves.
Hey Mike,If the Pats and Jets had just traded Jones/Thomas straight up, wouldn't that have worked well for both teams?
Mike Reiss (12:40 PM)
Interesting thought. I think salary considerations might have stopped them from striking it, though. Also, no trades allowed until tonight at midnight.
Even though Olsen may be the better TE, isn't there an advantage to tryign to pry Fasano away (same tender - 2nd round) as he is also pretty good, plus makes the Dolphins weaker. Also, what chance do you think that Pats have to trade for Boldin?
Mike Reiss (12:41 PM)
I think Olsen is a better weapon in the passing game, Jared. So if I'm giving up the 2, I like the idea of getting that impact. Not to mention Olsen wouldn't be an unrestricted free agent for another three Olsen, while Fasano is two.
Hi Mike, is it safe to assume no matter what happens this year it'll be Moss' last season with the Pats?
Mike Reiss (12:42 PM)
I don't think so. If money was not a consideration, I think he could retire here.
Nick (Worcester, MA)
Mike is the reason we haven't heard anything lately on the Wilfork front because they don't want to mess around with the salary cap being a possible hindrance? I would think the situation is alot like the Adalius situation, where they will cut him , but they don't want to upset their cap situation until the cap is removed...
Mike Reiss (12:42 PM)
Good point, Nick, and very possible that is what is holding this up.
Jim Keddy (Kennebunk, Maine)
You put Jason Taylor on your list. He prefers to be near hischildren. Why would this year be any different.
Mike Reiss (12:43 PM)
Maybe the Dolphins aren't interested in bringing him back, so the choice is out of his hands?
Mike Reiss (12:44 PM)
Let's go for another 5 here...
Johnny (Norman OK, via Chicopee)
What's the probability of a Leigh Bodden return? He wants to get paid, of course; are the Pats going to be willing to give him a multi-year deal?
Mike Reiss (12:45 PM)
I think I'd compare it to Mike Wright last year. Wright went out, tested the market, but kept lines of communication open with the Patriots and ultimately returned. Not saying that is what will happen with Bodden, but I think he wants to head out there and see what he's worth.
Mark (Dedham MA)
Do you think the Pats can do anything about the lack of leadership on the defense?
Mike Reiss (12:47 PM)
Sure, and part of that will come from within as players have another year in the system. I also think being careful about the type of players they add in free agency will help.
Mike Reiss (12:48 PM)
ESPN NFL Insider just "tweeted" that the Patriots placed the first- and third-round tender on guard Logan Mankins, as expected.
Come on Mike, who cares, sudden death is absurd and needs to be outlawed.
Mike Reiss (12:49 PM)
I'm not against changing the OT rules, Greg, but just don't agree with doing it for the playoffs and not the regular season. I say adopt the Belichick approach -- 7-to-8 minute quarter, play to the 0:00 on the clock.
Brian (Woburn, MA)
What do you think of Mike Mclaughlin, pride of Woburn MA and Boston College? He showed pretty well at the draft, do you think he gets drafted? Do the Patriots take a look at him?
Mike Reiss (12:53 PM)
Had a great talk with him at the combine, Brian. Teams are also impressed with his long-snapping skills. I think McLaughlin is the type of hard-nosed players teams will look at in the mid-to-late rounds. I think he'd be a great fit in New England, with special teams his early focus.
How about Kirk Morrison for a 3rd. That sounds like just what the doctor ordered at MLB? His production albeit for the raiders speaks for itself.
Mike Reiss (12:53 PM)
Absolutely Dennis. Production plus when it comes to Morrison. From what I've seen of him, I think he would fit nicely here. Pats down own a third-rounder, so they'd have to figure something out there.
Kerry (Chatham, NY)
Mike, do you think that the signing of david p. was to push the current recievers in camp and on the field versus hikm actually getting much palying time? i know he was a good wideout back in the 3 superbowl era, but that was almost 8 years ago?
Mike Reiss (12:56 PM)
Let's end on this one Kerry. I think one thing to keep in mind on Patten is that it's a low-risk, high-reward type of situation and that at this point of his career, Tom Brady likes being around veteran receivers. Patten might not even make the team. But he's a good type of player to have around to help Brady and the young receivers. He's a consummate pro. I still expect other additions at WR.
Mike Reiss (12:57 PM)
Thanks to everyone for chatting. I'll be up at midnight, following all the free-agent moves. Let's chat again next Thursday.