Chat with Tedy Bruschi
Welcome to ESPNBoston.com! On Monday, ESPNBoston.com NFL analyst, and former New England Patriot, Tedy Bruschi stops by to chat about the Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL news.
Bruschi retired in 2009 after 13 seasons and three Super Bowl wins with the Patriots. He started 189 games with New England, the most for any linebacker in team history. For his career, he had more than 1,100 tackles, to go with 30.5 sacks and 12 INTs.
Shortly after his retirement, Bruschi joined ESPN's stable of NFL analysts. In addition to being a regular NFL anaylst on ESPNBoston.com, Bruschi also appears on "NFL Live," "SportsCenter," ESPN Radio and other ESPN platforms.
Send your questions now and join Bruschi Monday at 11:30 a.m. ET!
Tedy (11:31 AM)
Good afternoon and welcome to the chat.
Tron (Waltham, MA)
Hey Tedy, Now what? With Gronk out does McDaniels scrap the playbook and dust off ones from pre-2010 when the Pats didn't have such talents at TE? I can't recall what formations the Pats used during the first six games of the season but I imagine they were still TE-centric knowing Gronk would return. Now its clear he's not so does the offense evolve? If you were the OC what would you do? Thanks Tedy! You're the man!
Tedy (11:33 AM)
The thing about not having Rob Gronkowski earlier in the season is that you also didn't have Shane Vereen (broken wrist in the season opener). I think this offense becomes "little-man" heavy now. The little men are going to have to pick up the slack -- Vereen, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola. Even when they were developing the younger WRs on the outside, that's not really who they want to be. From here on out, it's all going to be about the little guys stepping up.
Hi Tedy - thanks for your input. It seems like we are back to the offense needing to carry the day in order to win based on the defensive struggles. These slow starts really put the offense in a hole. It seems like Josh McDaniels could be doing a better job to get the offense going. Why not get back to the "dink-and-dunk" approach that has worked so well in the past? It seems like Brady is best when he strings together the short pass plays to start drives.
Tedy (11:34 AM)
Those are the words that probably best describe the Patriots' offense from here on out -- dink and dunk. Gronkowski is a rare tight end who could also stretch the field. Their No. 1 red-zone target is gone. And their No. 1 target to stretch the defense down the field is gone. It's all about passes that are 20 yards or shorter now. Dink and dunk might be the best way to describe it.
Ryan (South Boston)
Forget about the new rules. With regards to Gronk's injury: if that play had happened during your early playing days, wouldn't have it been considered "dirty"?
Tedy (11:36 AM)
Even in today's NFL, I can see how people may think that hit was dirty. But I look at it this way -- what are defenders supposed to do now? A similar hit happened like this with Packers WR Randall Cobb earlier in the year too. Defenders have now told themselves this -- if I don't want to get fined, I have to go low.
EJ (Hollywood, CA)
How do the rookie receivers react on the field to the loss of Gronkowski? Dobson especially was really coming along before the foot injury. With defenders now able to focus more on the Pats recievers, do you think there will be a regression in their development?
Tedy (11:39 AM)
This entire year has been a learning process for these young WRs. When the emphasis was put on them, without Gronkowski and Vereen, there were times they could handle it and there were times they couldn't. I think with Gronkowski and Vereen back, and a healthy Amendola, it was easier for them to blend in and fill a role. Now the emphasis could be back on them a bit more, we'll see how they've grown.
Tedy, did you think Cleveland played much better than their record yesterday? Campbell made the throws, Cameron looks like a stud TE, and Gordon is unstoppable. Just like against Houston, I didn't think the problem was that the Pats were bad, but their opponents just played really well.
Tedy (11:40 AM)
You see, Rob, that's just the thing. Now that we're getting to the end of a season, these bad teams the Patriots are playing are looking for a signature win. It looks like the Patriots players aren't recognizing this. A victory against them, once again this week, would be a season-maker for the Dolphins. So even though a team struggles, when they play the Patriots, you can expect their best effort.
Hi Tedy,I know you don't have a medical opinion, but from an athlete's opinion what's the perception on coming back from these injuries? Gronk plays with a huge amount of lower body strength - does that ever come back after this sort of knee injury? Is there any hope that Gronk is the same guy he was 24 hours ago 1-2 years from now, or will he probably never be the same?
Tedy (11:42 AM)
Let's not put Adrian Peterson expectations on Gronkowski. But he's only 24 years old and that youth will be an advantage for him. Every injury heals differently. I remember being in training camp in 2006 when I broke my wrist. Ellis Hobbs, a cornerback, had the same injury and was able to come back weeks before I did. And believe me, I wasn't milking it.
Hey Tedy, was that last touchdown by Cleveland yesterday blown coverage by Collins? And with so much pressure on Hightower to run the defense do you think they should split time with the green dot between him and McCourty (Spikes)? Hightower just seems a little lost out there at times. What do you think?
Tedy (11:43 AM)
First of all, like I said last week, it's going to be a little bit of an adjustment for Hightower. It might take all season. It's incredible difficult to get used to losing Jerod Mayo. To make that midseason switch for such a young player can be tough. On the coverage, Collins got caught with his eyes looking into the backfield. He saw the inside run fake and bit on it. If I had to make a guess, I'd say he had Jordan Cameron man to man; the sign of an inexperienced player.
Tedy, what are your thoughts on the offensive (no pun inteded) play calling? Seemed like the run was working, but they insisted on passing even when Blount was plowing ahead. Execution coud have been better in the first half, but seemed that the problem was more in the strategy.
Tedy (11:45 AM)
Rob, I like your questions today... For everyone that thinks they need to run the ball more, you have to realize that some of these short passes to Shane Vereen are considered runs in their playbook. They might not be runs on the stat sheet, but I like to call them hidden rushing yards.
I went to my first game yesterday and I couldn't believe people were leaving after the Browns scored their last touchdown. I guess this doesn't affect the players as they won but it must be a little discouragng and heartbreaking to see your fnas taking off? Any thoughts?
Tedy (11:46 AM)
If this 2013 season of the Patriots has taught fans anything, it's don't leave or you might miss something.
Adam (Broomfield, CO)
Tedy, you were right about easing Ridley back into the mix, and now with Gronk out for the year, they are going to need him even more. I thought he looked like a man on a mission yesterday, how bout you?
Tedy (11:48 AM)
I was pleased that Ridley got eight carries. He was running hard and didn't look tentative to me at all. He could possibly be a player who picks up the slack without Gronkowski there. Then Vereen could be used as more of a WR out of the backfield, or even lined up as one. Then you have Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, and their contributions, and you can still have winning production.
Nick (Florida )
Hey Tedy, the loss of gronk is huge, i think there is too many injuries to win a superbowl now, just curious on your thoughts now with the loss of gronk for the rest of the year.
Tedy (11:50 AM)
It is tougher to say the Patriots are Super Bowl favorites with the loss of Rob Gronkowski. But it's not impossible. Right now, I think they need to focus on getting that first-round bye. With the depleted the team they have, the less chances for elimination the better. Right now, if Cincinnati keeps on winning and the teams end up tied, the Bengals would get the bye. The Patriots need to understand they have no breathing room now; they don't want to be in that wild-card round.
Austyn (Dayton, Ohio)
With Gronkowski out, do you see the Patriots struggling as they did in the first part of the season without him? Or will Vereen be able to fill the void and make it a little easier on Brady? Considering Vereen only played one game w/o Gronkowski.
Tedy (11:51 AM)
This would be the big worry. Vereen is going to help, yes, but in the beginning of the season the defense was good enough to buy the offense time until the offense came back. Right now, this defense is slowly slipping farther and farther down the ranks. It's gotten worse since the losses of Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. I still think the offense will be able to produce. It's the defense where there is more concern. That's the unit that is so different.
Aqib Talib has struggled in coverage since coming back from injury. He doesn't look like the same guy out there as the shutdown corner we had the first weeks of the season. How do you think this affects BB's decision on whether or not to bring him back next year? Do you think the Patriots should take a chance signing him to a long-term contract if that's what he wants, or do we let him walk?
Tedy (11:55 AM)
I do think Talib is a very good player. That type of skill at the CB position, this defense values. With the familiarity he already has in this system, I think it would be smart to re-sign him. It just depends on how much he wants. Talib might want to test the market ... but I'm still curious what he was doing on that Josh Gordon TD. He opened his hips to the sideline when Gordon hadn't even gotten on top of him. All Gordon had to do was release inside and Talib could not recover. That was one of the worst plays of the day. I don't understand that technique with no safety in the middle of the field.
Joel Cohen (Mendon, MA)
Bearing in mind the toll of injuries this season, if Bill brings this team to AFC Championship Game or further... how will his 2013 coaching performance be judged? Will he ever overcome the haters?
Tedy (11:57 AM)
I think this is Bill's best coaching job. I say that because of the shifts of the team that have demanded his focus over the course of the year. He had the defense going early on and he had to make adjustments offensively for the loss of Gronkowski, Vereen etc. So he had to find ways to still be productive offensively as the defense bought time. As the season wore on, those roles reveresed, and defensively they had injuries that had to be overcome (Mayo, Wilfork) and the offense was picking up the slack. On top of that, not only has he had to incorporate so many young players but this team has had to play perfect situational football at times.
Rodrigo (São Paulo, Brasil)
Hello Tedy!Every one knows this season is over for Gronk, but what about next season? He may miss a big part of next season too, right? Thank you!
Tedy (11:59 AM)
With today's modern medical technology, coupled with Rob Gronkowski's youth (24 years old), so many things are possible. Of course, Adrian Peterson set the bar high coming back. Wes Welker blew out his knee in Houston and was able to come back without missing any time the next season. It all depends on the player.
yowutupfoo (Weymouth, MA)
Tedy, what in the world can and should the league do about these hits? If you're a defender...how do you decide where to hit a player?
Tedy (12:02 PM)
You just have to think about what these defenders are going through. When Edelman got hit in the end zone on the touchdown, I don't think that was a penalty either. The game is on the line, he catches the ball, and doesn't the defender have a right to hit the player and try to jar the ball loose and save the game for his team. In today's NFL, they're sending the message they don't have a right to do that. As a former, I can see the mental equation these guys are going through. So where can I hit these guys? It seems like there is only place. That's why more and more defenders are going low.
Tedy (12:03 PM)
Thanks everyone for the questions. We'll do it again next week.