Patriots Chat: Shalise Manza-Young

Shalise Manza-Young, spectacular New England Patriots reporter, was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat with us about the Patriots off-season so far, as well as the NFL Draft. You can read Shalise at Boston.com or follow her on Twitter.

What have you heard, if anything, about the health of Wes Welker? What’s your take on when he’ll be able to return to the team?

I haven’t really heard anything directly myself. The timetable for an ACL is around nine months, and Welker’s surgery was on Feb. 3, which means nine months is Nov. 3. As a receiver, and as the receiver Welker is with the cutting and juking and such, his recovery will take longer than Brady’s. Personally, I think it will be Thanksgiving at the earliest before we see him on the field trying to play. And don’t forget, he also underwent the rotator cuff surgery, so he’s rehabbing two things.

With the Patriots taking care of their own this off-season, rather than going for other big name free agents, do you feel that the Patriots front office feels that this team can win the Super Bowl with a few minor tweaks through the NFL Draft?
I’m not sure if that they feel the team as it is now can win a Super Bowl, but I do think they felt that because of the CBA rules and UFA/RFA changes that some of the best free agents who were available were their own guys, so they made the effort to retain them. The chances of the Pats (or any NFL team for that matter) finding four or five players in the draft who make major impacts as rookies are extremely slim, so you can’t count on the draft to improve your team that dramatically until two or three years down the line.

In your opinion, what has been the most underrated transaction so far this off-season for the Patriots?
To me it was re-signing Leigh Bodden. Once they franchised Vince, things that were said on both sides made it pretty clear he would be staying in New England (and really, with the number of teams now playing a 3-4, the Pats had no choice). But Bodden was another story — they have traditionally put a price tag on cornerbacks, and if you want more than that, they let you go. So while Bodden didn’t get a king’s ransom, they certainly did right by him. He’s pretty young, a good locker room guy and with another season in the defensive system I think he’ll show improvement above the better-than-solid season he gave them last year.

Are you surprised by the Patriots bringing in a guy like Dez Bryant for a visit, or are they just doing their due diligence?
I think it was a due diligence thing, and I go back to Brandon Meriweather for this one. Meriweather was considered a punk and a risk when the Pats drafted him because of the shooting incident and his actions during the UM-FIU brawl. But Bill Belichick spent time with Meriweather pre-draft, made his own assessment of the young man, and Meriweather has been a model citizen since coming here. Does that mean Bryant’s story ends the same way? No, but it shows New England will take a chance on a kid considered a risk if they have a good feeling about him.

One last thing – give us your prediction for pick #22. Pick the player or make the trade.
For the sake of the team and its fans, I hope like heck they at a minimum stand pat or maybe move up — not move down. That said, at number 22 I’m taking Sergio Kindle (Texas) if he’s there — physically he fits New England’s prototype for OLBs and Belichick has a great deal of respect for Texas DC Will Muschamp, who used to coach under Nick Saban.

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4 Responses to “Patriots Chat: Shalise Manza-Young”

  1. Patriots Rule says:

    Super bummed that Wes Welker won’t be back until Thanksgiving.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great questions – we love SMY at patsfans.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree, ESPNBOSTON, also has a decent BlOG Mike Reiss was previously at Boston.com

  4. Patriots Draft Guru says:

    Good info. SMY is the best at Boston.com

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