By: With Steve Grogan & R.R. Marshall
September 09, 2008

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MB: I guarantee Steve when we talked on Friday I didn't think we'd be having the discussion were about to have on Monday.

SG: No. This is very surprising, totally unexpected, but those happen in the game of football occasionally.

MB: Okay, lets just get this out of the way... dirty hit or not?

SG: No, I don't think so, he just kind of got knocked down and was trying to crawl towards Tom Brady to grab his legs, wrap him up and pull him down and unfortunately about that time Tom stepped forward and it was just an accident.

MB: Yeah I think we all agree, Randy Moss had said something about it being a dirty hit but I think once you really look at it you can see...I don't know who was on top of Pollard but he was being driven forward toward Brady it seems like...

SG: Right.

MB: So did you know instantly? Because when I saw it I saw on the right hand corner of the screen and I saw him buckle and go down before they even said anything and I felt it, I thought 'uh- oh that doesn't look good'. Did you do the same?

SG: Yeah, you could tell it didn't look good, but a lot of times a guy gets right back up and has no problems and other times like this its worse than maybe you think it is. I had the same thing when I was playing, not quite as badly but that's why they got me started to wearing a brace on my left leg, because that's the leg that you're always stepping into the defense with when your throwing the football and I'm surprised that Brady didn't have one of those on just as a precaution that'll prevents something like this.

It'll be interesting to see what they decide the day after the MRI I know there have been guys who have played the game without an ACL, John Hannah play for a lot of his career without an ACL just brace it up and played so....I don't know if Brady will be able to do that or not but he'll certainly be out for a month or so if not the whole season.

MB: I think that even with that dark cloud happening at that game yesterday, Patriots fans have to be really happy with the play of Matt Cassel.

SG: Well I thought Matt Cassel came in and did a great job. He did not look intimidated, did not look like he was overwhelmed, did a nice job for them. But you've got to remember too they're playing the Kansas City Chiefs and not the San Diego Chargers or the Indianapolis Colts.

MB: When [Cassel] completed that [51-yard] pass to Randy Moss I felt there's a guy that needed that shot of confidence right there.

SG: He did, I thought he handled it extremely well. And they had a running game they got going a little bit yesterday because he was playing quarterback and that was good to see. So it was good that they were playing a team of Kansas City's caliber but he's going to have to step it up a notch this week.

MB: How does the Patriots offense work now? Are they going to run pretty much the same offense Steve or change it up a little?

SG: Well, I think they won't change much on offense. I think they'll continue to do what they do well. Cassel's been practicing this offense for four years now so he knows what he has to do. I think the Jets will give a guy that hasn't played much a lot of different looks. They'll probably try to stop the run, they'll give him some strange exotic blitzes. Mangini's been around that offense. He knows what they try to do and how they'll try to do it, so there going to give him a lot of different looks and try to confuse him.

MB: Ellis Hobbs yesterday, certainly one of the key players to the game?

SG: He played well. You know it's good to see that. He's a confident young guy and that is what you need to play that corner back position. He's going to have to step up this year and really be the guy in the secondary, because they've had so many changes. The kick off returns [2 returns for 70-yards] he can get that done. So he's going to factor in both on defense and special teams and they need a guy like that.

MB: So you mentioned changes, a couple of changes in the game this year, there's no 'push out rule', that rule no longer exists in the NFL correct?

SG: It no longer exists. It's not a thing you see all that often but it [takes place] occasionally more than any place down in the endzone. Now a defensive player can push the guy out and there's no question he's out of bounds.

MB: Are we going to see any difference in defenses given now that one defensive player has the in helmet ear piece and can get coached from the sidelines? Is that going to make a big difference?

SG: No, I don't think that will make much difference at all. The Patriots were talking about not even using it because you roll so many players in on defense so I don't see that having a huge effect on the game.

MB: I think Steve that if you're a Patriots fan, knowing that you lost your guy, your main guy [Tom Brady], I think they held it together in a very hard situation and played fairly well....?

SG: I think you're right. They played a good football game, and they needed to. If Brady's out for the season, it is going to be far more challenging than it would have been without him. But this is still a team with a lot of talented football players and they're going to win their share of games and I think they can probably still be a playoff contender.

MB: I know that Chris Simms is coming to try out today. But do you think Daunte Culpepper, I know he announced early retirement, [but] he's only 31 years old and he knows Moss. Would they consider trying him out too?

SG: I'm sure they'll probably bring several players in and look at them. But whoever they bring in is not going to make a difference in the short term. Trying to learn a new offense and get acclimated to what they're doing around here whether it's Simms or Culpepper or anybody else it, it's just not going to happen overnight.

MB: Take Matt Cassel out of the situation of the game, what's the biggest weakness you saw yesterday that the Patriots need to work on?

SG: I thought offensively they did a lot of nice things, [but] they turned the ball over twice early in the game when they could have really buried Kansas City and got them down quick.

MB: The guys who turned it over too was surprising...

SG: One of them was unforced. He just kind of laid the ball on the ground when he tried to make the cut (Moss did). They've got to protect the ball particularly now with a young QB playing back there. Offensively they can't turn the ball over, they're going to have to take care of that.

Defensively I was really disappointed in that big play at the end of the game. You just can't give up big plays to a mediocre offense at the end of a game. They came with a blitz and the safety overran a little bit. They're going to have to get that worked out. That secondary is still a work in progress.

MB: So Grogan's Grade for that 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Steve what do you give them for a grade yesterday?

SG: I think overall a B+, I guess the defense that last big drive bothered me a little bit and offensively it was a pretty good game. Special teams I thought played pretty well yesterday, did some nice things for them.

MB: It's hard to be excited about anything today. I think still it's going to be a fun season in the end because you never know what's going to happen.

SG: Well once we find out what the deal is with Brady it'll be easier to figure out where we go from here.

Grogan's Grade For Week 1

OFFENSE: B-
DEFENSE: B+
SPECIAL TEAMS: A-

OVERALL: B+

GAME BALL: Matt Cassel


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