The departure of Richard Seymour via trade to Oakland on Sunday sent New England fans in a tailspin, and begs the question of how the Patriots' defense is going to stack up this season. Seymour is the latest of a number of veterans to exit Foxborough, namely Tedy Bruschi (retirement), Rodney Harrison (retirement) and Mike Vrabel (trade to Kansas City).
So who’s going to step up and fill those shoes?
Don’t expect any cut-and-dry answers from the head coach. I sat down with Belichick on Tuesday for a rare candid one-on-one interview, and he was mum on the Seymour deal. I asked him how confident he is in his defense this season, and he told me that he’ll have to wait and see on Monday.
But Belichick did say there’s change every year on a football team in the NFL, and this group will have to learn their chemistry together with guys like Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, Brandon Meriweather, and veterans Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Adalius Thomas.
I can’t say that I was surprised by the Seymour trade. Whenever I see an e-mail on my Blackberry from the Patriots, I am always curious, and think, “What did he do this time?”
You see, Belichick has a history of making moves like this (see: Asante Samuel, Deion Branch, Drew Bledsoe). But somehow, someway, they always seem to work out. I asked him about that too, and his response was humble, as he emphasized that the organization always does what’s right for the team going forward. We’ll just have to wait and see how this one pans out.
Among other topics we discussed, I asked Belichick about the Red Sox' chances this season, and who his favorite player on the Sox team would be to coach. Of course, he didn’t pick favorites. I should have known. But he gave me a detailed explanation of the Sox, their coaching staff, and said, “You can never rule the Red Sox out.”
We also discussed how Doc Rivers, head coach of the Boston Celtics, came to speak to the Patriots over the weekend.
“It was tremendous,” Belichick said. “I think every coach and every player there gained a lot of insight and took things out of it that can help us personally, each one of us. I know a lot of us took notes, either wrote them down or mentally took them and then wrote them down – things that he said that really struck a chord and hit home. I’d say that when you look at Doc, there are very few peoples that have done what he’s done and experienced what he’s experienced in his life. He’s a remarkable man.”
Let’s hope that Doc’s words of wisdom will shine some light on the Patriots' season this year, and bring another duck boat tour to the streets of Boston.
You can see my conversation with Belichick on Wednesday and Thursday night’s edition of SportsDesk.