FOXBORO -- Every Friday, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi will take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or Friday Bag, as they call it.
Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. But for now, give the latest edition of the Bag a read.
When all is said and done, will any of this drama/infighting in the background smudge the fact that Brady got to end his career as a Patriot? #FridayBag— Anthony Chasse (@Anthony_Chasse) January 5, 2018
PP: Anthony! No chance. As soon as Jimmy Garoppolo was dealt, that essentially made Tom Brady a Patriot for life. Anyone the Patriots draft -- whether it's this season, which I think it will be, or next -- will need some time to develop. The timeline should work out that Brady can essentially walk off into the sunset whenever the next guy is ready. So when you hear a breakup suggested due to the incidents detailed in ESPN's report on Friday, it's really, in my opinion, a suggestion that Bill Belichick could leave or retire. Robert Kraft obviously isn't going anywhere. And given the Garoppolo trade, Brady isn't either. The only caveat here: Brady could force the team's hand by refusing to retire once he "sucks" -- he's said before that's when he'll hang 'em up -- and make the Patriots choose between him and a younger quarterback who's better. If that happens, I could see him playing somewhere else. Seems unlikely, though.
IF Belichick leaves, who tries to stick around for the HC job? Patricia or McDaniels?— Kali (@kalicoconuts) January 5, 2018
PP: I don't think Belichick is gone after this season. And I don't think anyone really knows when Belichick is planning on retiring -- although Kraft indicated last year during Super Bowl week that he had an idea -- so it'd be hard for any assistant to plan based on Belichick's future plans. I don't think the next head coach of the Patriots is on the staff at the moment. I do think, if they could somehow make it work, that Bill O'Brien would be an interesting candidate. He's handled tough coaching jobs in the past, he has the demeanor to help him navigate life as Belichick's replacement, and I think he wouldn't mind being back in the area.
James Harrison's interaction with the media so far? Is he in early for workouts and enjoying the opportunity to contribute? How's he fitting in well with the rest of the team? I think he will be the difference maker and a beast in the playoffs, thoughts?— Lorne Grout (@runway29) January 4, 2018
MG: Lorne, he was ornery and borderline rude in his first interaction with us and then much more pleasant following the game, although there was that whole “put lotion on my back” thing and -- just prior -- some semi-nasty remarks to teammate Jonathan Bademosi regarding the media’s overall intentions. Overall, I’d say he came as advertised. He is very happy to be playing football and feeling like he is being given the opportunity to contribute. The guys look at him like he’s a rental. Get here, do a job and let the coaches/front office figure out if he has a future here beyond this season (seems highly unlikely).
Mike, with all of the talk about Patricia getting a HC job, how much does his appearance (beard, backwards hat, clown shirt) impact his chances? #FridayBag— Edward Ingraham (@Whofan70) January 4, 2018
MG: Eddie, he is definitely going to have to answer questions about the clown shirt, but I think the people that know him respect him. Plus, Belichick is a huge backer of his. That carries a lot of weight in this league when it comes to hirings and firings (ask John Harbaugh). I think the other thing to consider here is how well-versed Patricia is not just on the defensive side of the ball, but in a multitude of areas. Belichick loves to break in his newbies with a variety of tasks and Patricia was able to handle all of them. He’s getting a job if he wants it.
MG: Carl, way too early to say what QBs might be a fit here but I suspect that’s fairly high up on the list of priorities this offseason -- finding that developmental signal caller who could maybe be Brady’s heir apparent in a couple of years. As for the other spots, I’d look long at hard at linebacker/edge rusher, maybe another stout defensive tackle, a tight end and certainly a tackle, maybe even one fairly high up depending on what happens with Nate Solder and free agency.
Each Pats SB championship team had an unexpected breakout player during the playoff run. Who do you suspect will be this year’s new star?— Don Carter (@club_status) January 4, 2018
MG: Don, the Pats have had to go pretty far into the well this year because of injuries so I’m not sure anyone can be a breakout player at this point. But as for someone who is asked to do a fair amount and is just thought of as another guy, I’m going to peg Eric Lee. He’s going to get a fair amount of snaps and he’s shown up here and there with sacks and that interception versus Buffalo. Maybe he makes a splashy play somewhere in this postseason.
Who is the best basketball player between all the Patriots beat writers?— Cheech n Jon (@Cheech_n_Jon) January 4, 2018
MG: One Tom E. Curran would say it’s him hands down. He does play like 40 hours a week. Phil Perry would argue that he would take Curran down on the low block, put him in the torture chamber and bleed him out slowly but surely. No one has the range I do. That’s a fact. I’m like a 5-foot-9 Steph Curry. I’m in the hot zone the second I cross over half court. I’m also scrappy. And a little mean (dirty). I guess it’s a toss-up but what I would say is that as a 3-on-3 team, we wouldn’t lose and none of the games would be close.
How close is Nate Solder to a full mullet?— Barb Gogan (@BarbGogan) January 4, 2018
MG: Barb, he still has some work to do. Nate is also dealing with some developing power alleys in the front but while that may suck for him, I think it enhances the overall impact of said mullet. Nate isn’t sure if he chose the mullet or the mullet chose him but I’m embracing it and he is too.
Treehouse or Trillium?— Tim Taylor (@timtaylor22) January 4, 2018
MG:TT! Trillium but only because I’ve had limited experience with Treehouse. And don’t sleep on Night Shift. Awake is delicious.
1) More important player to get back on the field before next weeks game.. Van Noy or Mitchell?— Murph (@TMurph207) January 4, 2018
2) With Garoppolo playing as well as he did, is there a contract # that would shock you?
3) Who is the Biggest Slob @ @NBCSBoston whose desk would you/I need a tetanus shot to sit at pic.twitter.com/tssp5q6j0p
MG:Murph, Happy New Year to ya. 1) I’m going to say Van Noy but only because of the number of solid snaps he gives them. Mitchell could certainly help Tom Brady with his ability to run the comebacks/curls and his willingness to fight for the football, but who knows how he’ll hold up after missing the entire regular season. 2) Anything that puts him north of 50 million guaranteed would surprise me. Not that I don’t think he’ll eventually be worth it (I think he’s already there) but there’s still only the 7 starts on the resume. Osweiler got what? 36 million guaranteed with just about the same number of starts. Maybe a little more than that. If I was him, I’d be cool with the franchise tag, ball out and then got oodles and oodles of dollars the following year. 3) Biggest slob is Matt Cefali. Have you seen his shirts? I’m kidding. That has nothing to do with his cleanliness. Just bad taste. Tanguay’s desk is a bit of a cluster, and I think Curran showers only on the days he plays hoops.
Do you anticipate the Patriots will activate Malcolm Mitchell? If so, Gillislee IR, cut RJF, Branch IR, Britt cut? What do you think? #FridayBag— Alonso (@AlonsoNFL) January 5, 2018
PP: If the Patriots did move to activate Malcolm Mitchell, I think they'd make a corresponding move to the receiver group. To me, Kenny Britt would make the most sense as the player lopped off the roster. Otherwise, you're almost too deep at receiver. They'd be hurting themselves elsewhere on the 53 for a sixth receiver. Wouldn't make sense. The Patriots have time to determine if they want Mitchell back, and they've been watching him closely to see how he's progressing since returning to practice. Indications are he's responded to the workload well. Just hard to see exactly how ready he is when he's been out as long as he has, and when the staff is going off of walkthroughs and relatively light practice sessions.
Every year in the playoffs we see a “new” trick play... what do you think it will be this year?— Reed LaBarge (@MiddleNameMan) January 5, 2018
PP: Great question. Don't be surprised to see a funky field-goal block or another odd-looking onside kick. The Patriots are as forward-thinking as any other team when it comes to creativity on special teams. Remember they tried a misdirection punt return in the Super Bowl with Patrick Chung. And don't be shocked if something that was used this college bowl season pops up. The fake kneeldown the Patriots used at the very end of regulation in the Super Bowl with Dion Lewis last year was plucked from Western Kentucky's bowl game against Memphis a couple of months prior. The Patriots called it "Hilltopper" after the Western Kentucky mascot. They're watching everything.