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Chat transcript: Globe reporter Christopher L. Gasper

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January 25, 2008

Christopher_GasperHi, everyone. I just posted an update on Brady from colleague Mike Reiss on the blog. Tom was not spotted at the media portion of practice for the second straight day. Stay tuned. On to the questions.
EJL__Guest_Gasper, with the Pats close to achieving something that cant only be duplicated but never topped in a full season, I'm wondering if you see Tuna dangling some bait to his son-in-law down in Miami and lure Pioli in with warm weather and a new opporunity?
Christopher_GasperNo, I don't think so. Jeff Ireland is the man down there that the Tuna has put in charger and why would Pioli leave football paradise for a start-up. I think Scott has started to get more credit for his work this year.
Just_One_More__Boys__Guest_Christopher, even though they were on pretty good behavior last week, do you feel that the Pats' recent tendency to incur rather dumb unsportsmanlike conduct penalties is a concern? I could see the Giants getting under the skin of a few Patriots.
Christopher_GasperYes, I do think the Patriots will have to be on their best behavior. I think that was one of the ways the Giants got them off their game last time by baiting them into stupid penalties. If you remember Hixon's kickoff return was set up because the kickoff came from the 15 and not the 30.
Jim_From_Nashua__Guest_Chris - don''t you think that with all the physical and ball skills that Moss has, he could at least be thrown to more often? He can draw some pass interference or holding calls via his size alone.
Christopher_GasperJim,
Christopher_GasperI don't know. I think he's pretty effective as a decoy, and I remember the outcry when Brady forced the ball into Moss during the second Miami game. You can't have it both ways. That said, I think that the Giants secondary is not as good as either Jacksonville's or San Diego's, so I expect the Pats to take some shots to Moss, even if he's "covered."
lemme__Guest_Hello Chris, Why don't the Pats utilize the no-huddle more often? With Brady's reading capabilities, and the dynamic options he has, I would think they could do some damage.
Christopher_GasperThe great thing about the no-huddle is that it doesn't allow the other team to substitute, but on the flip side it also limits your own substitution patterns. I think that's why we haven't see more of it.
Mac57__Guest_Chris, I feel if the Pats go almost completely to throwing the ball, they will have success, even utilizing Maroney, and especially Kevin Faulk, who has been amazing this year. I know they will have to run some plays as well, but feel with the warm climate, this is right up their alley, providing Brady is healthy. We all certainly hope.
Christopher_GasperI would like to see the Patriots continue to use Maroney in the passing game. I think he's a real weapon. One wrinkle I would like to see is Maroney out of the backfield on a wheel route, similar to what Maurice Jones-Drew did against the Steelers. I don't think a linebacker can cover him down the field.
jackman__Guest_Chris, I watched the replay of the Pats-Giants game, and it did seem like their D-line was pushing ours around. Should we be worried about Brady having enough time ?
Christopher_GasperI don't think so. The Patriots offensive line has been outstanding this year. I thought they were great last week against San Diego. Merriman was a total non-factor. In the first meeting the Pats only allowed one sack to the Giants and gave Brady the time to hit Moss down the field.
SB_Champs_08__Guest_If the Pats win the SB, do you think that Bruschi or Seau, or both, will retire? If so, what do you think the Pats will do in the offseason to replace them?
Christopher_GasperThis is an interesting question. Personally, I think Bruschi will retire regardless. He alluded to finishing in Arizona immediately after the AFC title game. I thought at the time it was a slip of the tongue, but I could be wrong. I think Seau just loves football and Belichick would be able to convince him to come back if need be.
kb__Guest_Does Mel Mitchell's move to IR impact Troy Brown's chances of being active and playing?
Christopher_GasperIt would seem to give Troy a better chance of playing. I think it would come down to Troy, Chad Jackson and Eugene Wilson.
BuddyLee__Guest_Why wouldn't the Patriots suddenly switch their corners putting Asante on the left side just as Manning came to the line? Don't you think this might be effective and get into his head?
Christopher_GasperThat's just not the way they do things and if you remember Asante started playing like an elite corner when he was put on the left side last season. It's not as easy as left-right. It's like asking a left tackle to play right tackle. Not everyone can do it. Why weaken two spots by moving Samuel?
pbruin__Guest_Assuming the Pats win the Super Bowl, what stands in the way of setting a new consecutive win record into next season?
Christopher_GasperWell, the Pats schedule hasn't come out yet in terms of the order of opponents, but if they go 19-0 they would have to win their first three games next year to break their own mark of 21 straight, including the playoffs.
Bill_Rohrwhat are the chances that tom brady in fact is more seriously injured than first thought? that he has something like an injury to his achillies tendon rather than to his ankel? achillies-
Christopher_GasperIt's possible, but it's just tough to say. Trust me we're working on it, but I'm just not sure it does us any good to throw wild speculation out there.
LSCII__Guest_Will the Patriots loose any of their coaches this offseason to other clubs with HC vacancies?
Christopher_GasperI don't think so. I heard that the Redskins are interested in Josh McDaniels, but he seems content in New England for now.
starbird__Guest_With the Pat's previous three Superbowls decided by 3 points, I was hoping the ealry season blow-outs would mean I could sit back and enjoy the game in a more relaxed fashion. Do you think the 12+ point spread is realistic?
Christopher_GasperI do. Pats by two touchdowns in this one. I think the Giants caught them by surprise the first time. That's not going to happen again.
Y_A__Spittle__Guest_With so many offensive weapons, where do you see as the weakest links in the Giants D for hte Pats to attack?
Christopher_GasperSecondary. I'm not sold on R.W. McQuarters or Corey Webster and I think Madison is eminently beatable at corner as well. I'm also not crazy about their linebackers. They're average in my mine.
Butterfingers_Brisby__Guest_Chris, fill us in on the Giants D line. I know they topped the league in sacks, but do you think they can be run on? What about Usi's comments about Matt Light? Do you think he is already not wanting to face the Pats o-line?
Christopher_GasperThe Giants were actually eighth in the league in rush defense this year at 97.7 yards per game, two spots ahead of the Patriots. Defensive line is the most talented unit on that team. The Pats only had 44 yards rushing in the first game, although Maroney had some great short-yardage carries.
Tommy_s_Boot__Guest_Which Patriot is most likely to do the Chicken Dance at the Super Bowl?
Christopher_GasperDonte Stallworth. He has fun when he plays and he'd be happy that it's for a good cause.
unheardof__Guest_how is the mood in the lockerroom with everything that it's going on, first moss with the charges and now brady's injury any concern of the team loosing some focus?
Christopher_GasperThese guys are loose. I was there today when Stallworth and then Welker joked about replacing Brady at quarterback. I think the Pats see the end in sight. One more game, one more win and the mission is accomplished. I think that's exciting for them.
NC_Pats_Fan__Guest_Do you think the Pats pay to keep Samuel around? I feel like he's the anchor of a defense that would be significantly weakened without him.
Christopher_GasperThe Patriots do whatever is in the best interest of the team. It's cliche, but what I've learned is that's an umbrella term they use so it doesn't seem that they're flip-flopping. If they deem that signing Samuel to a market-rate contract is what they need to do then they'll do it, and I think he'd sign it. However, there is not going to be a hometown discount involved and it's going to cost more than it would have cost them this past offseason to get the deal done.
mel__Guest_chris, the patriots seemed to tighten up their run defense, but against the pass have become victimized the past two games. seems like they need to generate more of pass rush, not sure if vrabel has any post season sacks,. also, what will they try and do against burress?
Christopher_GasperTo me part of the game plan the last two games was to make the other quarterbacks beat them. Garrard played really well, but it wasn't enough. I think they'll go after Manning more this time because he may be good enough to beat them if they go with a game plan that lets him pick them apart. I think the Patriots will try to funnel Burress into going over the middle. He likes to work the outside of the field, but over the middle his size makes him a big target for big hits.
GDog__Guest_Chris, do you get frustrated by the media's desire to annoit the next great QB? It seems like we get this every week, and at some point we have heard this about Garrard, Palmer, and now Eli...OK, he has won a few in a row, but he is not on Brady or Peyton's level.
Christopher_GasperIt's funny because when Brady won his first Super Bowl the knock on him was that all he did was manage the game. Now, Eli is just managing the games and he's suddenly better than his brother. I think that Eli came into the league with a lot of expectations and people want to see him live up to those expectations. I think he's a very good quarterback, like Drew Bledsoe was, but I don't think he'll ever be great like Brady or Peyton Manning. Just my opinion, though.
unheardof__Guest_can chad jackson replace donte stallworth?, and what does he brings to the table?
Christopher_GasperI'm not sure. I don't think it would be wise for the Patriots to bank on that. They either need to renegotiate with Stallworth or find some other receivers. Welker is the only guy locked up long-term. Moss and Gaffney are both free agents and Stallworth's situation is complicated with that bonus payment. This is a decent wide receiver draft.
gv__Guest_What do the Pats do with their (SF's) #1pick?
Christopher_GasperPerfect segue. I think they'll trade down. I'm just not sure with whom they would trade yet. I really like Mike Jenkins the cornerback out of South Florida. I think he could be a good fit. There is also Aqib Talib of Kansas and Leodis McKelvin of Troy. If they wanted to go safety, how about another Miami guy, Kenny Phillips is a playmaker. He's a better prospect coming out than Meriweather was. Overall, this is a disappointing draft class though. Many of the top players like Laurinaitis elected to return to school.
MochaBeauDog__Guest_What advantage do the Pats gain this week with their entire line available? With no Subs.
Christopher_GasperWell, with Neal in there they're a better run blocking line. That's no knock on Russ Hochstein, but Neal is fantastic as a pulling guard.
Onwiththeshow__Guest_Can Randy Moss be bought out by high bidder next season or does the perk of winning trump the $?
Christopher_GasperI expect Randy to come back. I think he likes everything about playing here. I'd be surprised if he didn't return. I think he'll get a Corey Dillon-type deal.
TomBradyBooty__Guest_Will the team playing in London next year be the Patriots?
Christopher_GasperI don't know. Last I heard the Buccaneers were in the lead. Their owner, Malcom Glazer, owns the EPL side Manchester United, one of the most legendary soccer clubs in the world. Tampa Bay is not on the Patriots schedule next year.
sul__Guest_ESPN thinks that the Brady no show is a ploy to get into the Giants head. I don't they need to do this. Do you think this is the case?
Christopher_GasperNo, I think they're just being cautious. Like I said I don't think speculating does us any good, although it's fun. I wouldn't be surprised if it came out that Tom's injury was worse than just an ankle sprain. That it was a ligament deal or something, but as Rodney would say, it's irreleveant. Brady is going to be there. He's going to play. He's going to play well and it will only add to his legend in the end.
HomeGrown_Fan__Guest_Good Afternoon Chris, just wondering what effect you think Plaxico will have for the giants? He seemed to be a staple in the Green Bay game for Manning
Christopher_GasperPlaxico destroyed Al Harris in that game, but then again I'm beginning to think Harris in overrated, as Terrell Owens slaughtered him too. No doubt Plax is dangerous if single covered or allowed to get space, but he's not going to single handedly win the game. Let me put it like this, the Patriots won a Super Bowl with Tyrone Poole covering Steve Smith. I'm not that worried about Ellis matching up with Plax.
Onwiththeshow__Guest_Does Mike Reiss ever sleep?
Christopher_GasperNo. We just plug him in at night.
tim__Guest_Hey Chris, Kelley Washington has had such a solid impact on special teams this year. Any thought to using him as a DB against some of the league's taller receivers?
Christopher_GasperInteresting thought. I'm not sure Kelley could do this, but he has been great on special teams. He could be a big factor in this game on special teams, one area where the Patriots were outplayed in the first game, Stephen Gostkowski withstanding.
The_Wink__Guest_So...who is getting all the QB reps with Brady not in practice?
Christopher_GasperWell, assuming that Tom is not at practice -- remember we're only there for 15 minutes and then we're kicked out -- the reps would go to Cassel and then Gutierrez. Usually, the presumed starter gets most of the reps during the week and you need one quarterback to run the scout team.
guestDid Stallworth play against the Pats in the Suberbowl as an Eagle?
Christopher_GasperNo, he was on the Saints that year.
PatsfanNJ__Guest_Why is it there are so many analysts picking the Giants in this game, most notably Dr. Z of SI. Is there really something they see that I don't? If you ask me, the Giants benefitted from the Bucs poor play calling (should have stuck with the run), Dallas shooting themselves in the foot with penalties, and freezing cold weather in GB. Had they not scored that late TD against the Pats in the season finale, the game wouldn't have been nearly as close as the score suggests and the wouldn't even be worth a second look. Tell me I'm not a crazy, over confident Pats fan, please?
Christopher_GasperI think the Giants deserve to be in the game. They earned it. Also, honestly, the Patriots really haven't played their best game yet in the postseason. The offense was great against Jacksonville, but the defense was not stellar in the first half. Against the Chargers the defense was strong, but the offense struggled a bit turning the ball over. I just don't see the Patriots not playing really well in this game.
PatsfanNJ__Guest_Perfect situation: Mcfadden falls to #7, Dallas wants him. Do the Pats trade their round 1 pick for the 2 dalls picks?
Christopher_GasperTwo in a row. This is becoming a staple of my chats, either that or I just love the draft. I wouldn't do it. Dallas' picks are No. 22 and No. 28. I don't have that value chart, but I don't think that's enough for a top 10 pick. But maybe the Patriots will feel it's worth it to get two players at a reasonable rate, as opposed to splurging on one top 10 pick.
PatsfanNJ__Guest_I heard Rosie Colvin is a free agent after this season in a blog on ESPN. I thought he signed a longer deal. What's his status?
Christopher_GasperRosie still have a year left on his deal, but it's at a high cap number, higher than $5 million. He will probably have to renegotiate his deal.
lloydbraun__Guest_Mr. G, what are the chances we see a new exotic scheme from the "D" in this game? BB must have something up his sleeve to put on dispaly and slowdown Plaxico.
Christopher_GasperI think the Patriots are going to come up with a different game plan than the one they had in the first game, but as Belichick said today the key is in-game adjustments and there is nobody better. I just don't think Eli can play mistake free ball for the entire playoffs and all it takes is one mistake against the Pats.
Christopher_GasperThanks to everyone for submitting their questions. Sorry I couldn't get to them all. As Rosie would say, I think we all need to calm down about Brady's ankle. No. 12 will be there next Sun. Until we chat again.

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