Chat with Mike Reiss
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Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NFL Nation New England Patriots reporter Mike Reiss drops by to chat and answer all of your Patriots questions.Reiss joined in September 2009 and is a native New Englander. 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 to 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 1 p.m. ET!
Good afternoon and welcome to today's chat. Going to get started around 1:15/1:20 range. Running behind here.
The name I'm keeping on eye as the next domino to fall for the Patriots is RB Reggie Bush. Makes a lot of sense to potentially fill the significant Shane Vereen void. Great fit in this offense.
The hot topic, of course, is Darrelle Revis. So I'm going to lead off with some extended thoughts which hopefully answers the many questions on Revis in the chat. Let's start by sending along the link to the piece I wrote shortly after Revis agreed to terms with the Jets:
As we chat here now, I believe the only way Revis was coming back to the Patriots in 2015 was if the team picked up his contract option. And I don't believe Revis would have been a happy employee if that's the way it unfolded. Once the Jets got involved, I believe the Patriots were his Plan B all along but he masterfully kept them in the mix and I think New England management felt like they had a legitimate shot to keep him as recently as a week or so ago, in part because Revis is a shrewd businessman who keeps his cards close to the vest and never tipped off his intentions. That, to me, is in many ways a Patriots-type move at the negotiating table.
So I call BS on reports that if the money was the same, he would have been back in New England. I actually think it's the other way around; the Patriots really would have had to trump the Jets by a lot to even have a chance. Those reports, however, seem quite convenient to help drive up the price with the team that was Revis' Plan A all along, the Jets.
Loved covering Revis. Consummate pro. Unbelievable player. So the Patriots take a step back as we chat today, and the Jets get better, but let us not forget there's a long way to go before the next game.
So let's roll.
Paul H. (Chelmsford, MA)
Mike, doesn't Revis having decided to go back to the Jets all along strengthen the Pats' tampering claim?
Paul, I've said all along if what Woody Johnson said isn't tampering, then they should just forget about the tampering rule altogether. That is the textbook definition of tampering. That being said, everyone tampers. It's just that not everyone is foolish enough to mention it publicly.
Harry (Ashland)
Does signing Sheard signal an end to Akeem Ayers or will he be back?
Harry, I'd be surprised if Ayers is back. Watch for the Rams there.
Ryan (Work)
Mike: Sheard had a great first couple years but the last two? Blah at best...2 sacks last year and 4? the year before.... Try to get me excited about him? I need something man
Ryan, here's the key with Sheard: He's played under three different defensive coordinators in four years. That can stunt development and it's no wonder his production fluctuated a bit because of it. What the Patriots do so well -- and we saw it with Akeem Ayers -- is fit players into their scheme and magnify their strengths while masking some of their deficiencies. Sheard is going to do well here as long he stays healthy. He checks off all the boxes -- skilled, size, toughness, versatility, great off the field ... and one with tongue in cheek, reporters tell me he's not very quotable (which Bill Belichick will love!).
Raj (Morrisville NC)
Any Chance Wilfork comes back to the PATS???
Door is open, Raj. I'm not ruling it out. Fluid situation and just like it did with Revis (he favored Jets), this is a personal decision for Vince. This isn't a right or wrong thing. It's what works for him based on his situation.
Zach (Watertown, MA)
Mike: Wondering why we don't hear the Patriots connected to Cromartie, Williams, or any of the other top CB FAs? With Revis gone, I sure would be comforted if we signed a guy who can play capable one-on-one man on the outside.
Zach, I'm not sure Cromartie is a program fit. That's a little bit of a stretch for me to say because I have never been around him, but I have my doubts. I don't see anything on the free-agent market that makes me want to jump based on current prices. I'd be more excited about alternative possibilities, such as a high draft pick at the position, a free-agent safety like Nate Allen (Eagles), and maybe consider moving Devin McCourty back down to corner and see how it looks. Those seem like smarter plays to me right now. ...
... Not saying that's the way to go necessarily, but just spit-balling different thoughts. When Kareem Jackson is getting $8m per on the open market, that's out of whack to me.
Vik (VA)
Mike, so I heard that Keenan Lewis is unhappy with the Saints. Would there be a chance that Bill trades for Lewis, especially with the Saints possibly being interested in signing Browner and Tramon Williams? If so, what kind of pick/player would you think could get this done?
Interesting name to consider. I just pulled up his salaries -- 2015 ($1.8m), 2016 ($4.25m), 2017 ($4.75m) -- and those would work if they thought he could step in to one of the top spots. I'm not aware of that situation in New Orleans, and haven't seen much of Allen, so it's a little bit of a blind spot for me. But another good spitball type possibility to talk about if the Saints would consider a third-round draft pick (or around that range) as far as compensation.
Ashley (Nashua)
Mike:Logan RyanT WilsonHarmonMcCourtyDennardChungRyanButlerMike:How can this be our secondary? Im going to cry.... This could be the worst group in the nfl or maybe all time.... Im not going crazy here.... It truly could end up as the worst group in nfl history
Ashley, this is the point I'm going to drive home -- it's March 12! I know we all want the answers now, but this isn't the way it works. I agree with the consensus -- they currently are not as good on March 12 as they were on March 10. That stings and I don't know anyone who would really argue that. Let's let the process play out a bit more, because if there's one thing I've seen over the last 15 years it's that few adjust and reinvent their teams as well as Bill Belichick and his coaching staff.
max (my cube)
Why was Browner let go?
Max, my sense on that one is that it's a package deal with Revis. If you know you have Revis, you're playing that press-man style and that's what Browner does. Not much else. You might not even be playing that style as much in '15, and so now the player doesn't have the same value as maybe he did otherwise.
Glenn (Cumberland, RI)
Mike, do you think that the big "winner" here is Dennard? He was always better as an outside CB, but was clearly and rightly blocked by Revis and Browner. How do you think BB & Co. feels about his future?
I wouldn't go that far, Glenn. With Dennard, the "win" for him is going to have to come from within. Nothing externally is going to better position him if we see a repeat of 2014 from him. I'd be more inclined to say Chimdi Chekwa, who they signed Wednesday from Oakland, is the "winner", if anyone. He just went from Oakland to New England -- so that's a decisive win. And who knows, maybe he's this year's Malcolm Butler? If Butler taught us anything in the Super Bowl, it's that every move a team makes counts. I'm not saying Chekwa is the answer, but I also won't just dismiss a player who had some good things going for him when coming out of Ohio State in 2011 and was picked in the fourth round by the Raiders.
Jim (DC)
Red Bryant just cut. Potential Patriot?
They liked him a few years ago, but that doesn't always guarantee the interest stays strong a few years later. Could be worth a look, but to me, there's no adding a big-bodied DT until Vince Wilfork's situation has more clarity. His parking spot, if you will, is still reserved for him.
Jim ("Work")
Mike, every year it seems like people have reactions to moves the Patriots make like they occur in a vacuum. This year, everyone is saying "Well jeez we lost Revis AND Browner? How will we survive?" I am always amazed how often people completely overlook that losing Browner was 100% choice. Bill made the CHOICE to part ways... Maybe trust the guy who has won 4 super bowls in 11 years?
Jim, I guess we could say it's a fine line. Part of what binds us all here -- and why there are more than 700 questions in this chat today (how great is that?) -- is the passion for the Patriots/NFL. When you have passion, reactions will be strong and that's not a bad thing. But I think if we can balance that passion with some perspective, that's a nice position to take. If Bill Belichick's track record of adjusting and winning doesn't inspire confidence, what can be said? Maybe it would be wise to poll some Bills fans on what life has been like without a playoff berth since 1999. While not always perfect (what team is?), we're living the football high life here in New England.
Mike (Pittsburgh (by way of the South Shore))
Hi Mike, Butler made a great play and generally was solid in the SB game, but looking at his body of work from the entire season, do you see someone who can take the leap to be an elite CB (or at least a solid starter)?
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