Interview: Four Downs with Pats Pulpit

Our hope each week is to conduct an interview with the opposing SB Nation NFL site for the interesting storylines, as well as practical football related interest stories. This week MaPatsFan, the leader blogger for Pats Pulpit, joined me for a quick Q and A. I'd like to thank MaPatsFan for taking the time out to give us an idea on what to be on the lookout for tonight.

1) Carson Palmer’s rehabilitation after knee surgery was a long process. But he admits that he still fights the mental side of it, knowing that he has to protect that knee. After watching Training Camp and the preseason game against the Eagles, have you felt that that mentality side plays a factor in Brady’s performances?

MaPatsFan: Brady says he's not thinking about it, but I'm not sure it's that easy to ignore a big, honkin' brace on your left leg. Myself and others who have attended training camp saw movement similar to what we're used to which is to say, "Brady is as immobile as ever." ;-) His vertical movement (moving up into the pocket) looked very good and lateral movement didn't appear to be a problem. Against the Eagles, I thought he looked fine, throwing well. He did underthrow a Moss bomb for an interception, but I'm not reading too much into that at this point.

2) Is Tom Brady expected to play this Thursday?

MaPatsFan: The Patriots organization is notoriously cagey about things like this, but I do expect him to play this Thursday. He's said he wants the reps and I think it can only help for him to get a quarter or two on the field.

3) The Patriots have seen coaches leave in the past and it doesn’t seem like their performances degrade much after that. Former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become head coach for the Denver Broncos. What are your expectations for the offense now with McDaniels gone?

MaPatsFan: Like any good organization, the Patriots always have someone in the pipeline and Bill O'Brien, newly minted quarterbacks coach after spending 2008 as receivers coach, will most likely be calling the plays with the assistance of Bill Belichick. This was the path Josh McDaniels took. If O'Brien isn't named OC during the 2009 season, I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen for 2010.

4) Injuries seemed to hurt the Patriots at running back last year. With the signing of Fred Taylor, do you expect the Patriots to rush the ball better, or continue their spread-like offense, chucking the ball to five different receivers?

MaPatsFan: I expect they'll be a bit more balanced in their attack than they were in 2007. Fred Taylor certainly adds depth to the backfield, but my opinion is he was brought on board to act as a mentor for likely starter Laurence Maroney. Taylor, early in his career, went through many of the same injury related issues as Laurence is right now.

The biggest change, in my opinion, is a stronger emphasis on tight ends. For the past few years, tight ends in the Patriots offense have had little to do other than blocking; there hasn't been much in the way of reception duties for them. FA acquisition Chris Baker will change that. He's been very active in the offensive schemes, scoring two touchdowns against the Eagles. I'm pretty excited about this.

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