Part II with Pats Insider Jon Scott

Here is Part II of Dan Leberfeld's interview with Pats insiders Jon Scott. Now it's time to look into the defense . . .

6) The Patriots added a lot of young linebackers this off-season - how do they look so far?

Jon Scott: Good question. The players you're referring to that stuck are Gary Guyton (UDFA), Vince Redd (UDFA), Bo Ruud (6th round), Shawn Crable (3rd round) and Jerod Mayo (1st round). Ruud is on IR, Redd is on the practice squad. Mayo is the best of the bunch, but Guyton did well enough to make the final roster, much like Pierre Woods did a couple seasons ago. Guyton is fast, and has a knack for getting to the ball carrier. It's surprising no one drafted the kid because he's proving to be a real steal. Crable showed up in the preseason in a big way. The last time I talked to him, he was looking to contribute, but admitted he had a long way to go and the pro game is so much faster than college. He's got the range (wingspan, height, speed) to play OLB for the Pats. He's going to be a solid pickup for them for years to come. Mayo is the real deal. If you wondered why the Patriots don't draft linebackers in the first round, so are we. This kid is making plays everywhere. His presence has negated the need to call Junior Seau out of retirement.

7) On paper, the Patriots secondary looks shaky - how does it look on the field, and how is the team doing replacing Asante?

Jon Scott: The secondary has serious concerns. The Patriots have two veterans who weren't with the team last season and a pair of rookies to replace the three corners who left in the off-season (Samuel, Randall Gay and Eugene Wilson). I said nearly a month and a half ago that Lewis Sanders is a lot better than anyone thought. When he made the cut, some of my peers were surprised, but they shouldn't have been. He's solid, but not spectacular. He's the perfect type of Patriot player - no Duane Starks of Fernando Bryant washout here.

Speaking of Bryant, that was embarrassing what he tried to do against the Giants, and the team cut him. They brought in Deltha O'Neal to replace him, and O'Neal has proven to be a very good pickup. His speed and shut down ability were in display in week one when he first tracked down Devard Darling to prevent a late Chiefs score and then defended a pass on fourth-and-goal to seal the win.

8) Is the Patriots defensive line of Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren still as dominant as ever?

Jon Scott: I'm not sure they're dominant, as they didn't get that much pressure on a Chiefs line that has serious issues. What they did do a good job of is remaining consistent against the run, slowing down Larry Johnson (22 carries for 74 yards). The thing to remember about the front 3 is that they need to gobble up blockers so the linebackers can make plays, which they did. Mike Vrabel (OLB) had two sacks and Adalius Thomas (OLB) had another. Even Ellis Hobbs (CB) had a sack. If the Jets can double Seymour and Wilfork, they can make some holes in that defensive line for Thomas Jones to run through. It's been a big part of teams success against the Patriots so far this preseason and even at points in the Chiefs game. New England opponents have close to a 50% success rate on third downs, and that is because they're successful on first and second making the third down easier to make.

9) Explain to me the appeal of Larry Izzo. I'm just not seeing it.

Jon Scott: He's a team captain on special teams and has been so since his arrival from Miami in 2001. The guy continues to make plays on special teams and he knows how to help his teammates do the best they can. If you study the Patriots special teams on tape, Izzo is regularly around the ball carrier, even if he's not making the play. The thing to remember is that he takes position to force the returners to adjust their path. If Izzo is successful, the return wall never gets setup and other Patriots players get to make the tackle. Why is he popular? He's probably liked because he gives an awful lot back to the community and the fans. I'm a fan because he supports the military with most of his charitable work. Not enough football players even know about the issues, Izzo is out in front raising funds to help people.

10) How is that new CBS Restaurant in Foxboro?

Jon Scott: You'll find out when you come up here. Honestly I hear it's not bad, much like an ESPN Zone. I haven't been so I can't vouch for it personally.

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Jon Scott has covered the NFL since 1995, and is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider and Comcast SportsNet New England. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), Jon has been a guest analyst on the NFL Network, Sporting News Radio, ESPN Radio and other outlets around the web.

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