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Nick Cafardo chat transcript -- April 26, 2005

Bucky:Q: Is it possible to do the seemingly impossible, i.e., keep it going without the help of Weis and Crennel?
Nick_Cafardo:I think so. It might take a little time. Preseason will be interesting to see how the coaches all work together in their new roles. Mangini has been there and understands the system, so that won't be a problem. If Belichick is indeed the O. coordinator I'm curious to see how that works and whether he has the same ideas as Weis in similar situations. I think Weis is the biggest loss because of his offensive creativity. Not sure you can match that again.
NH_PatsFan:Q: Yes, typical question, but important, what is the status on closing the Brady contract. This kid shouldn't be left hanging like this.
Nick_Cafardo:I'm not sure he feels he's hanging. I think the Patriots thought this deal was done two months ago, but I think Tom and his agent paused a moment to make sure they were agreeing to a good deal and one that not only made sense for the team in terms of salary cap burden, but for him as well. They've done the smart thing given the size of this deal. I hear is heading down the homestretch. Not imminent, but certainly farther along than what was reported two months ago.
mkenglander:Q: Nick, as a native Bostonian and graduate of Univ. of Michigan, I was surprised the Pats didn't select Safety Ernest Shazor, a physical player that fits the Pats' system...why was Sanders a better fit?
Nick_Cafardo:I personally like Shazor's game, but he can't run. I think you need a little bit of speed out there and Sanders can move better while also possessing some of Shazor's physical attributes. That's my best guess.
Supermen:Q: What is up with Seattle LB Chad Brown?
Nick_Cafardo:I think it's a good idea to take a look at him because he might be one of those older guys who could fit into this system and maybe give the Pats what Roman Phifer did. Brown isn't the player he once was or Seattle would have kept him, but can he give you some quality plays in a rotation with Ted Johnson or Dan Klecko or whoever else is out there, I think he can.
west_coast_fan:Q: The big question from all of us displaced fans in LA. Why not wait for Mankins in round 2 and pick a higher rated CB in round 1. Did they want Hobbs as first choice anyway? Did they feel Mankins would be gone?
Jay_D:Q: The past two years the Pats have taken guys that would have been 2nd rounders (at best) by the analysts. Do you think Pioli - Belichick do this so they can negotiate cheaper contracts with them?
Nick_Cafardo:I think when you're picking 32nd, it is what it is. Now the structure of the contract might be different from guy to guy, but the overall money is pretty similar. You remember the contract hassle last season with Ben Watson. Tom Condon refused to let him take a six-year deal, held him out and then Watson finally gave in, fired Condon and agreed to a bad six-year deal. The Patriots do a great job negotiating with their draft picks. Jack Mula negotiates the deals with the rookies, and he's pretty tough.
Muddy_2:Q: What's your best guess on Bruschi?
Nick_Cafardo:My gut feeling is he doesn't play this year.
BostonNeal:Q: Did the Pats try and move up in the 1st round?
Nick_Cafardo:I don't think so. I haven't heard that anywhere. I think the Patriots were pretty unimpressed with the talent in this draft.
Typhoon:Q: Hi Nick, Enjoy your column on the Patriots. Can you comment on the chances that Troy Brown will be back with the team. Seems unfair what they asked him to do last year and how he was released. Thanks.
Nick_Cafardo:I've been shocked that Troy Brown hasn't received any offers, which leads me to believe the chances of him returning are better than they were a few weeks back. We know that Belichick has talked to Brown recently, which I think is a good sign. Maybe Brown felt with all he had done for the team that the Patriots would take care of him on his contract, but they don't work that way and now it seems Troy will have to take a minimum type deal if he comes back here.
billymac:Q: Is Aaron Glenn from Houston a real possibility?
Nick_Cafardo:Yes. I haven't followed it today, but obviously there's a relationship there with Glenn and Belichick from the Jets days. Now, the interesting part is Parcells, who also wants Glenn. Will Parcells actually make a trade for Glenn to take him away from NE? Glenn and Parcells also have the same agent, Jimmy Sexton, which could also enter into play.
marbleheader:Q: Will the Pats carry 4 QBs? Or is this the end of Rohan Davey?
Nick_Cafardo:I would doubt they'd carry four on the active roster. Matt Cassel is a guy they sneak onto the practice squad at some point. A lot of people assume that the Patriots are down on Davey and would like to move him. But I don't know if that's the case. The fact he maintained his backup status to Brady all season, tells you that he probably didn't do a bad job in practice, meetings or in what ever situation they evaluate players who don't play.
patsfan65:Q: How did the rest of the AFC East do in the draft? Has anyone caught up to the Pats?
TheCaptain:Q: How does Buffalo's Tom Donahoe get away with introducing JP Losman has his 1st round pick here in 2005? How come no one is all over him for this? He gets a free ride if you ask me.
Nick_Cafardo:Tom has been getting ripped pretty good. He's getting ripped for not trading Travis Henry. I agree with him on that one. If I'm not getting third round or better for Henry, I wouldn't trade him either. Losman should be a pretty good player. Why would you rip him for that?
Brian:Q: Why not bring back Ty Law for a one-year deal? It doesn't seem like he's getting many offers at this point. If he comes back for one year, he could reestablish his value as a top corner and we could get a Pro Bowler for below-market price.
Nick_Cafardo:Well, it looks like they're about to sign Chad Scott (Pittsburgh) so I think they've signed their veteran corner. Ty will be somewhere. He never expected to be back here and the Patriots cut their ties. They still have dead money on his deal they're paying for on the cap, so I doubt they'd want to sign him to a new deal.
mkenglander:Q: Nick, did the 49ers gamble by taking Alex Smith instead of a seemingly brighter star (who could start right away) in Braylon Edwards?
Nick_Cafardo:I think when you're rebuilding your team, you have to build it with the QB. With the history of receivers in the first round being what it is, you never know how the guy is going to pan out. I think Mike Nolan, who comes from that outstanding Baltimore system, learned a lot while he was there about building franchises. He did the right thing. Question is did he take the right QB?
Digbyesq:Q: Hey Nick, Great column. Who might be available FAs at outside linebacker?
Nick_Cafardo:I'd be surprised if they even considered anyone. They have Colvin, who expects to play a bigger role, McGinest, Vrabel, Banta-Cain. I'd really be surprised if there was any outside LB on their radar screen right now.
dfb:Q: Why not Ruud or Pool in the first round? How could Pats evaluation of them be so different than all others?
Nick_Cafardo:I think when they saw Ruud there just wasn't anything extraordinary that stood out about him. He's a tough guy; a T. Johnson type, but they don't see him as versatile enough. Pool is a good player but you've got Dexter Reid, you've got a comebacking Guss Scott, Eugene Wilson and why go safety in the first round?
John:Q: Could Brady Contract Alleged Problems Be a "Show" (equal treatment for all)-attempt to explain throwing Andruzzi and Troy Brown to the Wolves?
Nick_Cafardo:No. I've had enough people in the Pats organization tell me this is one guy you don't mess around with. I don't believe they've done what your suggesting. They're smart enough to know that Brady is Reason No. 1 for three Super Bowls.
dg:Q: WEEI just reported that the Patriots just signed Chad Scott..FA formerly of Pittsburgh. Any comments?
Nick_Cafardo:I've always liked Scott. I think he's going to fit in very nicely/ He's a tough guy who comes from another top organization that's committed to winning. This shouldn't be much of a transition for him and I think it really protects them back there.
D__Bledsoe:Q: How do you think I'll fare in Dallas this year?
Nick_Cafardo:Very well. If the line protects you Drew, you'll get to throw the ball down the field again to some some pretty good receivers.
patsfan_in_nc:Q: Nick, do you see an enhanced role for Ben Watson this season and do you thing Fauria's days are numbered since they drafted another tight end?
Nick_Cafardo:Sorry for the delay. Watson is a No. 1 pick so, yes, he should be a big pass catcher in that offense. I was very impressed with him in preseason. I think Fauria is safe only because you need three guys and the kid they drafted is likely heading to the practice squad.
D_Wayne_Johnson:Q: Hi Nick, do the picks of the the two offensive lineman mean that they are not satisfied with Steve Neal's play? Do the Pats think of Neal as a journeyman/ plug in type or do they feel he has some upside?
Nick_Cafardo:I believe they think the world of Neal. He's one of the most athletic guards in the league. This guy can do things blocking down the field that not many guys can do. I think they just want to create more competition at Andruzzi's vacated spot, and at right tackle where you have Gorin and Ashworth and maybe one of the two kids.
BMG:Q: It appears the Pats will be facing a head-wind this year. Many teams in the AFC, namely Baltimore and KC have seemed to blow by us for talent level. Should we expect a year like '02 next year?
Nick_Cafardo:Of course, other than not making the playoffs by a nose, '02 wasn't horrible (9-7). I think the Patriots, as currently constructed, are a post-season team. A few more things have to come together in camp for me to say they'll be a Super Bowl team, but I have a hard time projecting them as out of the playoffs.
drew:Q: Hi Nick, How do the wide receivers look without Troy Brown?
Nick_Cafardo:I'd like to see one more good one. As much as I like Deion Branch, he's got to prove he can stay healthy for a full season. I want to see bethel Johnson step up and make a commitment to being the best he can be because he's got amazing ability. I think Givens is your rock and if Terrell and Brady kind find that Michigan magic, that could be fun to watch. Terrell was one of the best receivers I ever saw in college, and he created so much excitement when we thought the Patriots might take him in that draft.
Terry_or_Aaron_Glenn:Q: Any thoughts on Parcells drafting Demarcus Ware at 11? Seems a bit high for Ware to have been taken.
Nick_Cafardo:Seems high, but I think Parcells had the best draft of all 32 teams. This kind of reminds me of what he did after the '95 season in NE. He re-tooled with a good mixture of rookies and free-agents. He's tremendous at turning seasons around.
bri:Q: I am surprised they went with Kaczur...With the way his last college game ended against BC and punches thrown... That is atypical of Patriots players
Nick_Cafardo:They like their offensive linemen to be tough and feisty. That fits this guy perfectly. I'm sure that Tom O'Brien being a friend of Belichick's that he was consulted on this guy as well. He's going to be 26 years old, so he's fairly polished as a player and he's got that spunk. He's also large.
fenwayfan:Q: Hi Nick - Do you think our offseason moves - draft and free agents - have done enough to address the secondary issues we had last season e.g. Troy Brown @ Nickel Back?
Nick_Cafardo:I do now with Chad Scott. I must admit, the trade for Duane Starks didn't bowl me over at the time. He has a lot of questions he needs to answer. But I think they're pretty deep with Asante Samuel and Randall Gay and a comebacking Tyrone Poole. I'm not sure where Poole fits.
mkenglander:Q: Nick, the Browns and Crennel seemed to have a very solid draft. How soon until we see the Browns return to playoff team status replete with Frye-to-Edwards connections?
allan:Q: With success in sports come imitators. Which team do you think is most closely imitating the Pats?
Nick_Cafardo:I think Miami. Miami will do things very similar because Saban is in charge and he was a big confidant for Belichick. A lot of people think Cleveland because of Crennel, and even though Savage worked briefly for Belichick, he's his own man when it comes to evaluating talent.
pollo_verde:Q: With the all the recent additions, is there a chance that some of the more familiar veterans (McGinest, Poole, Fauria) could lose their jobs? Any rumors?
Nick_Cafardo:Poole is the one that I would keep my eye on. McGinest is still a very good player and a big part of that defense. If they salary-cap stretched I could see Fauria going, but the coaching staff staff has always enjoyed his presence on the team.
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