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Ask PFW: Heading toward the bye

Posted Nov 5, 2013

Fans are wondering what to expect for the rest of the season as the Patriots head into their bye week in this edition of Ask PFW.

Do you think Bill Belichick would ever have Julian Edelman returning kick offs?
Graham Smith

That's a question I ask myself a lot, especially given the struggles the Patriots have had returning kicks in recent years. We can all see how dangerous Edelman is on punts and yet wonder why he doesn't get the opportunity to consistently work as a kick returner. He's had just 26 attempts in four-plus seasons with the Patriots, none so far in 2013 and just three last year. He averaged 21.7 yards with a long of 37 on those 26 attempts – nothing special, but certainly better than what we've watched with LeGarrette Blount. Perhaps the coaches want to keep Edelman healthy but that would run counter to the way he's done things in the past. Not sure I have any good reason for it, but I would be in favor of trying Edelman on kicks too.
Paul Perillo

Hi Paul/Andy/Erik and crew, Thanks for taking my question again, you make me feel an appreciated Pats fan! What is a reasonable expectation for production coming out of two intriguing signings, Isaac Sopoaga and Austin Collie? I haven't seen much of Collie since the Saints game where he proved to be clutch. I barely saw Sopoaga last game that I can remember.
Stephen Wu

Collie is likely an insurance policy for both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman and provides some depth on the outside as well. He hasn't gotten many opportunities since he's been here but he did seem to pass Kenbrell Thompkins on the depth chart. He also injured his knee early in the Steelers game and did not return. Depending on the severity of that injury, he could see even less time in the near future. At best Collie is the fourth or fifth receiver behind Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Edelman. Sopoaga came as advertised in his first game, providing some bulk in the middle against the run against Pittsburgh. He was involved in about 25 snaps against Pittsburgh and was part of the short-yardage defense that came up with a couple of stops on third- and fourth-and-inches in that game. I expect him to continue to be used as part of the base defense, which means he should play about one-third of the time given the Patriots preference for their sub packages.
Paul Perillo

Will Bill Belichick remind Tom Brady and Co. six points scored on Bengals vs. 55 points on a team comprised of over-the-hill players and low-grade rookies? And 31 points allowed on defense to 23d ranked offense, injuries and all?
Optimistic Critic

It looks like you tend to emphasize your last name a bit more than your first based on this post. Obviously the Steelers are not a very good football team and that was evident not only on Sunday but also by their terrible record. It's a team that had just been manhandled by Oakland, which in turn was demolished by the Eagles. So clearly no one is making reservations for a Duck Boat parade based on the Steelers outcome.

However, you can't ignore the offensive improvement shown either. Rob Gronkowski's presence in the lineup opens up all kinds of space for everyone else, and as long as he's healthy that should continue. It won't mean 55 points every game, but I don't expect another six-point effort, like against the Bengals, anytime soon either. There were a lot of encouraging signs against Pittsburgh and it's reasonable to assume the offense can continue to be productive if the pieces stay healthy. Defensively it's another story. Injuries are ripping that group apart, so it will be vital for the offense to keep up the momentum it started against Pittsburgh because it will be difficult for that group to keep up the pace it set in the first half.
Paul Perillo

When the Pats had a fourth-and-goal and went for it, the Steelers jumped offside, which was called. Since they made the TD, they declined the penalty. The TD was overruled. Why did the Steelers take over? Why not first-and-goal, or replay fourth down?
JP Galasso

Actually they did replay fourth down, and Stevan Ridley was stuffed in the backfield and never had a chance. Once replay overturned the touchdown call, the Patriots get to accept the penalty, which resulted in a minimal gain of half a yard but did allow them to replay fourth down. Unfortunately the result was the same and the Patriots turned it over on downs.
Paul Perillo

Kyle Arrington, who got a big contract from Patriots this year, is almost invisible. If Steve Gregory is out for a while, can he be inserted at free safety position because he has experience playing in the backfield and comparable weight?
Robin Beck

I'm not sure how you've missed Arrington this season, especially lately since Aqib Talib has been on the shelf with a hip injury. Arrington is basically a starter since he was serving as the team's nickel back when Talib was healthy, and since then has been the starter on the outside in the base set. He didn't play much in the second half against the Jets as rookie Logan Ryan took some of his playing time, but as a rule Arrington has played virtually all of the snaps this season. His play has been a bit uneven at times but I don't see Belichick inserting him at safety unless Duron Harmon struggles in place of Gregory. If that happens Belichick may be forced to move a corner like he did initially with Devin McCourty. I'm not sure that Arrington would be the guy, but I wouldn't rule it out. First things first, though, and I'd expect Harmon to get a chance to line up next to McCourty if Gregory can't go coming out of the bye.
Paul Perillo

Get me in at the last second. Where did the song come from at Red Sox games? Everything is gonna be all right. Where and about when in the season did it start getting played. Thanks for answering the baseball question. Go Pats.
Katherine Weiss

All Red Sox hitters can request a specific song to be introduced to each time they come up to bat at Fenway Park. Back in July, Shane Victorino changed his to Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Three Little Birds" and it stuck. Soon the crowd at Fenway was singing the "every little thing, gonna be all right" part in unison, and by the time the World Series came around it had become quite the phenomenon. The crowd at Gillette Stadium picked up on it against Pittsburgh with Victorino and several of his Sox teammates there in attendance. Hope that helps.
Paul Perillo

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