Chat Transcript: Lavin Answers Fan Questions

Did you miss the Insider chat with author James Lavin? Here's a transcript of the chat which covered things from the acquisition of Randy Moss to the return of Troy Brown. Find out what Lavin thought of the Patriots 2007 draft picks including Oscar Lua (pictured at left).

Red = PI Contributor John Ingoldsby
Blue = PI Insider/Analyst Jon Scott
<Morpheus> = Moderator

This chat was held Wednesday night June 6, 2007 at 9pm.
The next chat is this wednesday at 9 also. Check the Forums for specifics

<JSinCT> Hello
<humdogg> Hi
<humdogg> Is it September yet?
<humdogg> September
<JSinCT> Wishing it were
<JSinCT> Well looks like the stragglers are taking their time due to all the baseball tonight
<JSinCT> Are we ready to kick it off and let them show up when they can?
<Guest34> yes
<humdogg> Do you think there is any chance the patriots actually consider trading for Antone Winfield?

<JamesLavin> With the Patriots, it's usually a question of the price. He's a heck of a CB. Don't know about his personality. But he sounds desperate to play for a contender and would probably take less to play for the Pats.
<humdogg> yeah
<JamesLavin> The Patriots are attracting many players now who are eager to win and play alongside other really dedicated players.

<JSinCT> The Viking Update staff believes that Winfield is just griping from what I've heard. Not so sure he can gripe his way out of town

<creiner812> why not give up samuels for a first pick and a 2nd or 3rd. he's no good on the bench

<humdogg> Who do you think would start opposite Hobbs if samuel Isn't there the first game?
<JamesLavin> From what little I read of Winfield, he was talking in late May that the Vikings just didn't have enough offense to win. So I doubt it will happen, but a trade for Asante is a possibility I suppose.

<JSinCT> Welcome Chic... JAMES is here
<Patriots-Chic> Hi JS and James
<creiner812> he said he won't be there for the first ten games
<JamesLavin> creiner: ""he"" being Asante or Winfield?
<creiner812> a first and a 2nd or 3rd would let the Pats control next yrs draft entirely
<JamesLavin> A trade could work well b/c Asante wants $$$ and Winfield wants to play for a winner: ""Winfield had his gruntle dissed by the fact that Minnesota did little to upgrade its offense in the off-season. But Winfield has been dodgy about what^`2019s eating him except to say he doesn^`2019t want a new deal or more money.""

<JSinCT> James, A lot of our readers want to know about your Randy Moss take. I know you had a lot to say in your Q & A earlier, what is your take on the reporters who think Moss will be a problem?
<Guest34> It appears that Randy Moss is one of those players that are eager to be on a championship team and put aside some past history. Do you think that his personality might be a problem in Belechik's plan?
<JamesLavin> I'm not worried about Moss. On his past teams, he's felt the need to be ""a leader."" On the Pats, I think he's thrilled to be just another guy. That MAY be why he hasn't tried to show off yet. He could be lazy, but I suspect it's that he's trying real hard to be a team player.

<humdogg> James, As of right now what do you think is the weak spot on the Team Position wise? And do you think there might be a Answer to fix it through Free agency?
<creiner812> Moss will be a winner in NE. Either as a long receiver or as a decoy tying down the op's best defensive back and opening it up for the others.
<JamesLavin> I think depth at several positions is my main concern. LT. LB. Secondary. Every team is vulnerable to multiple injuries at the same position. The Pats really got hurt last year with a rash of injuries on their defense.
<humdogg> i agree im not a very big fan of Matt Light's Play
<JamesLavin> Several years in a row we've somehow ended the season with no defensive backs. I keep saying it can't be as bad next year, but it keeps winding up looking like a M*A*S*H unit.
<humdogg> totally Agree
<patsfan> Hi all
<Guest34> welcome patsfan

<creiner812> who will be the QB backup?
<JamesLavin> The QB backup will still be Cassell. Don't see anyone else ready to step ahead of him. But I like this Gutierrez kid to make the team much more than I liked the guys they had in last season. I couldn't figure out why they even brought those guys in. Usually I can spot something that makes me say ""Aha!"" But last year's QB pool was lousy.
<humdogg> Testaverde?
<JamesLavin> The Pats went without a 3rd string QB much of last year. They always would love to have a guy like Vinny or Flutie either on the roster or ready to join the roster. Vinny knows our offense now and could be called if anything happened to Brady. He's also a great film room buddy for Brady. But they might rather develop a younger player and keep Vinny on speed dial.

<creiner812> Can Jr play 40%% of the downs can Harrison make most of the season will alexander come around who knows
<JamesLavin> I suspect they'll rotate the LBs to keep 'em fresh and healthy. Having Jr play 40%% would be a big help.
<JamesLavin> I think Harrison will have a great season. Can't speak to Alexander. Don't know enough.

<patsfan> Sorry if I missed it, but will Samuels be back?
<JamesLavin> I suspect Samuel is done with the Pats. I suggested a trade for Antoine Winfield might work well for everyone b/c Winfield would get to come to a winning team and Samuel could get his $$$$.
<patsfan> That's too bad. Thanks James.
<humdogg> yes Minnesota has a ton of money to spend it would be a perfect fit

<JSinCT> James: Do you think the patriots have enough depth on the defensive line?
<humdogg> JSINCT I think that is a great Question

<Guest34> James- How did you feel about our picks in the draft and would you have wanted to see it go another way?
<creiner812> theis yrs draft class was to most observers weak. so if you come away with one winner you did ok
<JamesLavin> I was thrilled with our 4th rounder and Lua in the 7th. I put Merriweather's name down as my backup choice at #24 and wondered whether he would be on the Pats' draftboard, so I think that was a solid pick. Trading #28 made sense too.
<Guest34> absolutely agree with your assessment

<JSinCT> Thanks Hum

<humdogg> Oscar Lua Will be better the Alexander this year?
<creiner812> will A thomas play on the outside?
<JamesLavin> Thomas will play everywhere.

<creiner812> What sor of drFT COMP COULD THE Pats expect for AS?

<GR365> what's the odds that Brandon takes over for Samuels
<lethrneck> This might be repetitive, but why don't the Pats just trade Samuel for another player or a draft pick?
<JSinCT> FYI James Lavin - Author of Management Secrets of the New England Patriots, for those who didn't already know that.
<JSinCT> buy his book... well worth the read

<creiner812> come on no one plays everywhere...except Brown

<JamesLavin> The Pats seem to feel they want more competition on the DL. I feel we do have enough depth b/c I think our 4th rounder will turn out to be a steal. But BB & SP know infinitely more than I do. They seem to be stockpiling DLs right now, so perhaps they're concerned. I think it's just to create competition. I'm sure BB & SP will find enough depth.

<creiner812> Will Dillion possibly be back in NE?
<JamesLavin> I was being sarcastic about ""everywhere."" I don't think he'll be taking many snaps ahead of Vince Wilfork.
<humdogg> lol
<patsfan> lol
<creiner812> Sarcasm is good!
<humdogg> he has played Corner before

<JamesLavin> I don't think Brandon will be starting on Opening Day. I'm not sure he's even been practicing. And I don't think BB will want to start a rookie on opening day.
<GR365> By mid season?

<JamesLavin> I think Dillon's through. His legs just don't have the stamina. He got through some holes with nothing between him and the endzone last year and just couldn't get there. Looked like he stepped in molasses.
<humdogg> another year of patch work secondary?

<JamesLavin> I don't see it as a patchwork secondary. They've got a bunch of guys who are all good, not great. Randall Gay won a Super Bowl, and people aren't even talking about him as a starter. Plus, with the schemes the Pats run, it's not always about having a ""shutdown corner.""
<humdogg> treu but man samuel would help

<JamesLavin> Merriweather could be playing by midseason. I'm no expert, but I suspect they would rotate him in and out to get him experience and evaluate him. His role could expand quickly or slowly. But he probably won't just sit on the bench for 10 weeks and suddenly become the starter.
<humdogg> James, If you were to project some stats saying everyone stays healthy what do you think Brady,Maroney,Watson,Stallworth,Welker,and Moss stats would be around?

<JSinCT> James you mentioned in your Q & A that you felt there is a good LB from USC in next year's draft. Do you think they'll draft a LB in the first round next year?

<JamesLavin> They probably won't be able to draft THAT LB because San Fran's #1 probably won't be top 5. They play in a lousy division and are improving.
<patsfan> Will they draft any linebacker in the first round?
<JamesLavin> Whether they draft ANY LB in Round 1... They never do, and I suspect they won't. I think they see it as a position requiring gobs of experience. A dominant college LB is not necessarily a dominant LB in the Pats' scheme. Intelligence and experience are hugely important and tough to analyze based on college performance where LBs are free to roam rather than fit within a scheme.
<JamesLavin> Having said that, the Pats have a way of surprising us.
<humdogg> i def would have liked to have Patrick Willis
<JSinCT> thanks PF , was my next question

<creiner812> what good is a shut down corner if a team puts 2 or thee other good receivers on the field.. Look at what Manning did in the second half last fall

<Guest34> What do you think about our newest wide receiver Wes Welker? It looks like he's fitting in quite nice as of now

<JamesLavin> I was surprised they traded a 2 and a 7 for Welker. He always kills us, but he doesn't seem to be a stud receiver. But he does look like a superb slot receiver. A younger Troy Brown. Is a young Troy Brown worth a 2 and a 7? Of course. And it removed another area of need before the draft.
<JamesLavin> I really can't project player stats. Sorry humdogg.
<humdogg> no prob what about this who do you think will lead the team in Rec
<creiner812> I still think they looked at the draft as weak and felt WW was better than any possible available 2nd rounder..I like him

<JSinCT> James: one from an emailer - Will Troy Brown be back?
<JamesLavin> I can say that overall this Pats offense will be amazing. That's probably obvious. I think it will start out very good and become superb as the year wears on. They'll get better as they grow comfortable with each other and the playbook.
<humdogg> Man i cant wait alreadt took July 27th off so i can go to training camp

<JamesLavin> I read that the Pats think Welker will lead, and that's a real possibility. Watson should face much more single coverage and could also have a Ben Coates type season.
<JamesLavin> I agree with creiner about the draft being weak. Kraft said after Round 2 they couldn't have gotten anyone with that pick who would have been better than Welker.
<humdogg> Do you think Eugene Wilson will be gone after this year and does he have a chance to play corner this year?

<JamesLavin> I don't know about Troy. If the Pats wanted him back, why wouldn't he be back yet? One of his strengths is his leadership. I guess it could be the injury. But I can't predict what's up with Troy, and I have no inside info.
<humdogg> Also if there was 1 or 2 guys on the team you think the pats should lock up long tern who would they be?
<Guest34> I agree with you Humdogg. I can't wait to head to training camp with my good freind Swanny this summer. It will be terric to see

<JamesLavin> They need to lock up Moss or Stallworth, but it's not clear yet which one.
<Guest34> Terrific
<humdogg> I was thinking maby either Ty Warren or Vince Wilfork
<creiner812> How about CHAIN AND BALL ON mANKIN?
<JamesLavin> I don't think Wilson will be gone. He showed enough when healthy that I think the Pats would keep him.

<JamesLavin> Oh gosh, you're scaring me, humdogg. They have perhaps the best DL in football, and I would hate to lose any of those guys. But they're so good that they'll be getting metabucks contracts.
<JSinCT> James, do you think any teams are truly catching up to the Patriots in terms of front office leadership / strategy? if so, who.
<creiner812> TW an VW are essentials

<JamesLavin> The Jets are obviously doing very well.
<JamesLavin> The Chargers also. Their GM read both of my books twice.
<JSinCT> =) he complimented the Pats on dealing with players who wanted too much money. he knows he has to deal with paying/not paying Merriman.
<JSinCT> Glad to know he's reading something worthwhile
<JSinCT> =)

<JamesLavin> The Chargers' personnel decisions have been very impressive, and I liked them moving on from a HC standpoint after they were so obviously outcoached in the playoffs with players making insanely dumb mistakes. And I think they were smart to find new coaches who knew their offense and defense rather than bring in guys who would install their own offense and defense and make the players learn a whole new system.
<JSinCT> good points. hadn't thought of it that way.

<JamesLavin> As impressive as Mankins has been, I think DL is more important. So if I had to choose, I would choose Warren or Wilfork over Mankins.
<humdogg> Right Now week 1 who would be the starting Defensive Backs?
<GR365> Norv's track record as a HC is very simular to Marty

<JSinCT> One last one for me: When Belichick decided to eventually call it quits, do you think that his system will live on in the organization or will it all go with him?

<JamesLavin> You could argue that OL cohesion is more important. But the Patriots play a read-and-react defense that requires more cohesion than attack-oriented DLs.

<JamesLavin> I think BB has been trying to develop assistants who could take his place. Unfortunately, he has done such a great job of it that teams are grabbing his assistants out of the cradle.

<JamesLavin> what's LT AG ANS SM?
<JSinCT> LaDanian Tomlinson is LT.. I assume AG is Antonio Gates and SM = Shawne Merriman...

<patsfan> didn't belichik sign a new deal?
<JamesLavin> Perhaps a year or three before he retires BB will tell some assistants he's planning to retire and hand them the keys. And they can carry on the tradition.
<creiner812> YUP
<Morpheus> Will the Patriots resign Samuel? What will be the end conclusion.

<JamesLavin> I didn't say they were going to win the SB. I'm going with the Pats. But, yes, that team is capable of winning a SB if coached properly. They had (some of) the arrogance knocked out of them last year. I don't know how motivated they are or whether Norv Turner can come close enough in schemes to stop BB, but the players are immensely talented, and I don't think they've lost many important players.
<Morpheus> There is a CB on the Raiders I wish the Patriots would target, I forget his name but he wears number 21
<JamesLavin> I wrote earlier that Samuel is probably done. I think a swap for Winfield might make sense.
<humdogg> Do you think Adalius Thomas Stats will be as good as they were in Balt or will he be asked to stay back more and not blitz?
<creiner812> Isn't it tough to live in camelot and with Kraft Pioli Belichik and the Brady bunch and be so spoiled we have to sweat the future...
<Morpheus> How old is Winfield?
<JSinCT> LOL creiner
<GR365> 30

<JamesLavin> If he was a dedicated pass rusher with the Ravens, his stats will drop. (But that wasn't my impression.) He'll definitely be dropping back too. He, BB and I are all unconcerned with stats.
<humdogg> oh def as long as we win

<JamesLavin> It IS tough having to wait several more months for football! If our team were mediocre, perhaps we could handle the pressure better.
<JSinCT> Morph, I hear Tyrone Poole is looking for work
<humdogg> lmao
<Morpheus> So is Jeff Roehl JS
<Morpheus> lmao
<JSinCT> ;-)
<JSinCT> OK gang.. Last questions before we let James get out of here

<Morpheus> What is your opinion of Winfield?
<JamesLavin> I wrote above that I don't know anything about Winfield's personality but he's talented and eager to play for a competitive team, which is why I think a swap for Samuel would make sense. Samuel gets $$$ and Winfield gets to play for a winner.

<humdogg> Is Tory James any Good?
<JamesLavin> If the Patriots signed Tory James, the Patriots think he can help their team. And that's good enough for me. So I believe he has some talent.

<creiner812> James thanks for your time...
<humdogg> Yes James Thanks it was a pleasure
<Patriots-Chic> yes James, this has been very insightful and I really appreciate you taking the time fr us
<JamesLavin> Thank you all. It's been fun. Tough to read everything and reply!
<Patriots-Chic> *for
<JSinCT> Thank You James... Much appreciated.
<humdogg> next week Tom Brady is on
<GR365> thanks, been fun!
<humdogg> lol

<JSinCT> When's the next Book coming?
<JamesLavin> Vol 3 has been on hold for quite a while. But after we win this next Super Bowl I'll polish it off!
<JSinCT> =) I like your thinking James
<humdogg> Very Nice

<creiner812> Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

<JSinCT> everyone be sure to visit James' website at

<Morpheus> TY James
<JamesLavin> Thank you for having me.
<patsfan> thanks james!

Patriots Insider would like to express out thanks to James Lavin for sharing his time with readers. Look for future chats with other notable guests here on during the offseason.

James Lavin is the author of Management Secrets of the New England Patriots, vols 1 & 2. Lavin has been a guest on Patriots Insider previously answering questions posed by fans and insiders alike. In his most recent Q & A, Lavin addresses the Patriots offseason moves, including the team's acquisition of Randy Moss. Lavin's series Management Secrets can be found in local bookstores, B & N and even For more on Lavin and the book, see his website

If you missed the chat and cannot attend the one next week, be sure to post your questions in the Insider's Lounge under the ASK AN INSIDER or the ASK ADAM threads. Patriots Insiders will address your questions in the insider's threads, while Adam Caplan (NFL Insider, Sirius NFL Radio host and senior NFL reporter) answers the questions in the Ask Adam thread.

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