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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri May 07 - 12:00 AM | Sun May 09 - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: All over the board

Just as I was about to post this on the web, the Patriots signed free agent OL Bob Hallen, which doesn't necessarily mean they are done addressing the position, but he adds that veteran backup experience the Patriots lacked. So if you're expecting a blockbuster move, sorry. He plays both guard spots and center so he would seem to be decent insurance in the interior of the line. The questions were all over the board this week, so have fun.

I've seen all the questions and opinions offered by fellow Patriot fans about the 2 first round picks and I also questioned whether Watson was a bit of a reach. My question is, even though they had already made the trade for Dillon, don't you think they still should have taken Jackson with the 32nd pick after he fell right to them?
Craig Odom
Hobbs, N.M.

No. Because he was taken 24th by the Rams. Now I can tell you that Kevin Jones would have been the pick at 32 if Detroit hadn't traded up to get him. Like with Watson, they would have felt the value was too great to pass up Jones at 32 and would have taken him over Watson. With both of those backs gone, they moved on and felt like Watson was the best pick at the spot. So your question is legitimate, but Jackson was not on the board at 32.

You've explained that the Wonderlic test is given to all draft candidates at the combine, consisting of fifty multiple choice questions in twelve minutes. I was wondering what these questions ask about, are they all football questions, like what one would do in a given situation? Or are they logic and math questions, or a combination of both, or maybe something completely different? Thanks
Jack Pierce
Concord, Mass.

It is like an IQ test, but it measures how quickly someone can process information and solve problems. An easier sample question might be: In the following series of numbers, one is omitted, what should the number be? 900, 875, 850, ???, 800, 775, 750.
There also are questions regarding word definition and other types of things.

DO YOU THINK,THE PATRIOTS WOULD EVER CONSIDER GOING BACK TO THE OLD "PAT PATRIOT" LOGO?
Scott Perry
Las Vegas, Nev.

No. With all due respect to the men who played hard every Sunday under the Pat Patriot logo, it's like a guy dressed up for Halloween. Logos that are comprised of people instead of animals are hard to work with. I know I risk offending traditionalists, but I think the new logo is better. The old one is great in terms of its historical significance and I love and appreciate when they break it out now and then. But I was never a fan of it when it was on the helmet. The Patriot guys dressed up in the end zone are a nice touch to the traditional New England "Patriots."

Offseason critics kill me. No one except for Bill & Scott know how any of these draft picks are going to be used. Let's wait till a few games have been played before any of us pass judgment. The idea of the draft is to supplement the veterans with younger players who, 1)make less, 2)could develop into vital players themselves, or to address a specific need at a particular position. People, wake up and look at the numbers from last year. I think we used 42 different starters last year. I think the public forgets the most crucial rule of football. Football is a game of surviving injuries. Teams with the best depth go the distance. Also don't forget the Pats won't break the bank for any one player, so its important to get players into the system and playing as quickly as possible so that we can really know if a particular player is going to be part of the team for year to come. Just thought I would give you guys a break and not have to answer yet another stupid question about a player no one has even seen play yet.
Pete Condon
Tampa, Fla.

Thanks Pete, but there is no such thing as a stupid question … We welcome all from our loyal fans and hopefully subscribers. If you are using this forum, you better subscribe. 800-494-Pats or www.pfwonline.com. Let's go people.

please post.....please post...please , please , please. With the draft over, and each team signing rookie free agents, can u tell me whom the pats signed, and does it look like any will make the team. I told my co-workers that I would get one of these posted eventually. Please help me save face.Thanx. GO PATS!!

Chief 00
Exeter, N.H.

I didn't know Robert Parrish was such a beggar. Chief, maybe if you ask better questions, you'll get them posted. Your question above can be answered with a little effort on your part and generally would not be answered in this forum except that I felt the need to make an example out of you. Begging doesn't help. Compliments, on the other hand, get you everywhere. When the players were signed, the names were posted as a news update on Patriots.com and could have been found with a little search on your part. But because we are good people here at PFW, I'll give you the names anyway: P/K Cody Scates, WR Ricky Bryant, CB Randall Gay, LB/LS Grant Steen, TE Andrew Mignery, LB Quinn Dorsey, LS Brian Sawyer, LB Eric Alexander and Louis Gachelin. I have no idea if any have the chance to make the team since I haven't seen them compete with their teammates yet. Sorry. I hope your face has been saved.

Boy, you do get a lot of dumb questions! But I also agree with Brunswick, Maine, when he stated you goof off in print too much. But it can't be all work and no play … that's not fun. Reference: Len Pasquarelli.It seems the rhetoric has died down from Ty Law. I have always thought he was a good player -- not the best but very good. The system definitely benefited him, especially last year. Lately it seems he has morphed more into a "me" player. I would like PWF to dig into their inside sources about what might be going on with him. Are we going to trade him? Has everything smoothed over? You hate to see the selfishness because he wants another big payday on the downside of the mountain. I think we need to get something for him this year. Do you hear any rumors? Or is there nothing happening because it seems awfully quiet... thanks BRYAN...p.s. that's my middle name!

Jim C.
Brockton, Mass.

It's good that your parents named you after me. But Bill Belichick is mum on Ty Law. I don't know what he's thinking privately, but he won't say anything publicly about it other than to admit Ty is a good player who remains under contract to the club. I have to disagree with you that Ty is a me player. It's the offseason and Ty is trying to take care of his financial well-being. While making comments about having to eat is public relations suicide, it should not cloud the fact that Ty is coming off his best season and understands that he has an opportunity now for one last payday. These guys make a lot of money and nobody feels for somebody like Ty Law, but they only make it for so long and just because we live in a different tax bracket doesn't mean Ty or any other player can't fight for what he feels he deserves. That doesn't mean he gets it, but these guys only get a small window of their life to bank this serious cash so I don't begrudge them for fighting for it. Ty has been a team player where it counts – on the field and during the season. What happens in the offseason from a financial standpoint has not affected that yet. If it does, then Ty will lose a lot of earned respect and show a side of his character that New England has not truly seen. I don't happen to think Ty will do that. While his age, 30, would indicate that he is nearing the other side of the mountain, he certainly hasn't shown anything to indicate that he is there yet. Let's not forget what kind of year he had last year just because you don't approve of his actions or behavior.

I am a high school football coach near Cleveland. When Belichick coached here, I had a chance to meet him. I have been a fan ever since and have followed his career. For a while, I was probably the only one in Cleveland that liked him. Anyway a question was asked about whether the Patriots run a west coast offense or not and I wanted to give my opinion. So take it for what it is worth. In reality, to tell the difference between offenses you have to look at the blocking schemes and not the pass routes. A west coast offense involves tackles blocking down, guards and/or centers pulling and either kicking out defensive ends or wrapping to linebackers. What the Patriots do is something called zone blocking. Here, the linemen simply step playside and block the first guy that shows whether it is a D-lineman or a linebacker. Certainly this is an oversimplification. The thing with pass routes is when you send five guys out in patterns, the field is only so big so there are only so many places the receivers can go to so as not to have two receivers in the same area. Naturally, there will be common routes involved from offense to offense. To really see the difference, watch the Jets running plays. They are true west coast style. Then watch the Patriots run plays. You will see the difference between zone blocking and west coast power blocking.
Tim Mainello
Painesville, Ohio

Thanks Coach Tim. You have done our readers a service.

Are the Patriots going to be getting any compensation picks in the future? I thought I heard they may be getting some next year. If so, what round can they expect to get some picks and for whom are they getting them for?
Kevin
Boston, Mass.

Teams receive compensatory picks based on a formula that looks at the cumulative loss of free agents the previous year. So losing Damien Woody, Mike Compton, Ted Washington and Chris Akins will be weighed against the signings of Rodney Bailey, Jeff Burris, Josh Miller, Otis Smith and Keith Traylor depending on how each contributes to his new team in 2004. The highest compensatory picks come at the end of the third round and can be awarded at the end of any round after that. We will not know what these are until next April.

I can't believe it. I read these articles every week and never did I have any knowledge that anyone at PFW was associated with Everett High football. Everett is a bunch of recruiting bums, they stole Diamond Ferri from Medford and they stole Omar Easy from Jamaica. And for the record, it wasn't fun playing against either of them. MEDFORD FOOTBALL RULES!
Jack Dolabany
Medford, Mass.

Paul Perillo suited up for Everett High during one of its dark periods, but hasn't Medford been in an extended dark period? I'm no expert on Massachusetts high school football, but Medford hasn't been good since the last Martorana graduated. No? That's what I hear.

I read somewhere, and this could be a bogus story, that drafted TE Ben Watson was considered "soft" by his Georgia coaches. Is the "soft" label because of his ankle sprain last year?
Dave
Minneapolis, Minn.

I had not heard that, but Andy Hart spoke with one of his coaches who raved about the kid and said no such thing. Maybe he was blowing smoke, but I hadn't heard that.

This is my first time to participate in this forum although I read the q&a all the time! Since I live in Houston,Texas, the Patriots website, PVN, your radio show and this column make me feel like I'm really plugged into the action with my favorite team! I love listening to the radio show.Anyway, was wondering do you think that J.J. Stokes has any real possibility of making the team this year? It would sure be good to see him contribute considering his size!Do you think there is any possibility of A. Smith coming back after June 1? I know that Smith is not the best of backs, but he delivers when its needed, and I for one hated to see him cut.I was really surprised at the picking of Ben Watson, especially considering all the other people on the board at the time.I do like the Wilfork pick and think he will be a great fit on this team!What is your opinion of Kliff Kingsbury? Does he have any potential with this team? He had a great college career at Texas Tech!Keep up the great work that y'all do!

L.W. Sopchak
Houston, Texas

Let's see. I think Stokes is probably a long shot, especially after the team selected 6-3 P.K. Sam, who might be a fifth-round gem. I don't think Antowain Smith will be back and June 1 has nothing to do with his situation. I think the Patriots have moved on. Kingsbury has some potential and I think his development will be noticeable this summer. He was very productive in a college system designed to make him productive, but I think he could develop at this level. We won't truly know until June or July.

You guys crack me up! Thanks for getting me through the offseason with your crazy banter! I have a few things to get of my chest before my question, first; Will some of you fans go and do some research before asking such dumb questions, you had to log on to this site to ask your question, stay awhile and find out the answer and you just might find a better one to ask!The 2nd is the C. Dillon move, yes he has many off the field issues and yes he is a talented football player. That said, one of the many reasons other than the Pats record that attracts me to them so much is the off the field commitment to the community! I love to hear the stories of players who go visit with kids at the Foxboro schools or Kraft taking guys to Maine and New Hampshire. That rocks just as much as Brady to Brown in OT at Miami! Will C. Dillon be a productive part of the community? Time will tell...Corey go do something nice with all that $$$$$$!!!Not only am I a fanatic about the Patriots I am also a collector of Pats memorabilia and here lies my question; based on contracts, salaries, experience, or whatever you need to calculate with, who is the best player to invest in an authentic jersey of? I have purchased a few (Bledsoe, Milloy, Katzenmoyer, and the big mistake Glenn). If Law departs soon I will have had 5 jerseys at $200 a pop go down the drain. Please give me some advice?

The Pikes Peak Patriot
Colorado Springs, Colo.

OK, stay away from anybody you want to stick around. Sounds like your purchase of a jersey is the kiss of death. Players come and go, but I have to figure that Brady or Seymour would be good choices. Maybe Wilfork if they make him available. Thanks for your input. It's nice when you folks say stuff we don't have to. But we do get a lot of good questions from very knowledgeable Pats fans.

Two questions. Is there any good offensive lineman left out there in free agency that the Pats can maybe pick up?Second: When does CBS' contract for the AFC games expire?

David Robinson
S. Burlington, Vt.

Mark Dixon is still available as is Tom Ackerman, Blake Brockermeyer and Solomon Page. The team signed Bob Hallen Tuesday. I'm not sure what level these guys played at last year, but there are some names for you to consider. Hallen was on IR last year. The television contract expires following the 2005 season.

I don't know why everyone is so happy about this draft. I love the Vince Wilfork pickup but why the heck didn't we get a guard at 32 or with some other pick. How are we going to run the football with a bunch of undrafted free agent nobodies starting on the offensive line (excluding Matt Light)?!? We lost Damien Woody, and there is no one to back up Hochstein and Andruzzi. Both can't run block. The Pats had a chance to draft Chris Snee or Justin Smiley and they blew it. Instead they spent another first round pick to draft anther tight end. I'm wish the Pats would get an offense like the Broncos and the Chiefs have.
Eric London
East Greenwich, R.I.

Well Eric, many wondered why the Pats didn't pick a lineman, but they are trying to develop guards and, in my opinion, don't feel they need to spend a first pick and first round money on a guard. Andruzzi was undrafted and Hochstein and Koppen were fifth round picks. That's the interior line that won the Super Bowl. Sure Woody was a first rounder, but that came under Bobby Grier's watch. This regime has not used a first round pick on an offensive lineman and has used two second rounders to draft tackles, not guards (Klemm and Light). Don't expect them to use a high pick on a guard any time soon. Not that this is the end all be all, but maybe if the Chiefs went with a cheaper offensive line, their defense would be good enough to win a championship. I don't know what they spend on their offensive line so I'm only messing around, but the Patriots offensive line has been serviceable and enough to win with. Perhaps the savings from not having a high-priced offensive front provides enough cash to build a defense the team can win with.

I was so excited about Corey Dillon I updated my Pats team on Madden 2004. In a season, (without injuries), Dillon ran for 1,250 yards and 9 touchdowns and 7 fumbles. Would you say that sounds about right as a prediction for next season?
Lone Pats Fan in the Big Smoke
Toronto, Ontario

If he loses seven fumbles, the Pats will not be in the playoffs. But the rest seems fair as far as expectations go.

With McGinest, Bruschi, and Johnson all aging and battle scared... How do we plan on having depth at LB in case of injury?
Bobby Bryant
Boston, Mass.

Those guys may be aging, but there are enough of them to qualify as depth. McGinest, Colvin, Vrabel, Phifer, Chatham and Banta-Cain can all play outside. Johnson, Phifer and Bruschi can play inside, which leaves Don Davis and Larry Izzo as extras who play on special teams, but could fill in on a short-term basis. The position will need an influx of youth in the near future, but should be OK for 2004. If numbers became a problem, the Patriots could create more depth by switching to a full-time 4-3 with only three linebackers on the field.

What's up guys? Judging from the first question I read on last week's pfw I guess David Patten got re-signed or something? With six wideouts why don't we cut him. Seriously he's a bum. I've watch every Patriots game and he's never wowed me ever. He drops passes, he never makes amazing catches or does anything impressive and still he's always on the field. I just don't understand. We need to drop him. I think he's the worst player on the team. Our other wideouts are much better.
Joe
Hamden, Conn.

Joe, Joe, Joe. What are you talking about? Did Patten insult you or something? David is a good, hardly great, NFL receiver who can get deep and does most of his work outside the numbers. He's not an over-the-middle kind of receiver and is certainly replaceable (as the team showed last year when he missed most of the season with an injury), but has been effective in his Patriots career. He made two of the biggest catches of the year during the 2001 playoffs when he made two leaping touchdown catches, neither particularly easy – one in the AFC Championship and one in the Super Bowl win over the Rams. In fact, he was the only Patriot to catch a touchdown pass in the playoffs that year. He also had 8 receptions for a game-high 107 yards in the Snow Bowl win over the Raiders, including one on a fourth down play during the game-winning drive. If those aren't big catches, I don't know what qualifies. I'm not trying to sell you on Patten, but your criticism is grossly unfair and makes me wonder if you pay attention to the games – particularly the most important games.

It has certainly been a great offseason for the Patriots, but am afraid my favorite player, OLB Tully Banta-Cain, will not make the roster. He didn't get too many reps because he was injured. What's your take on the situation? My other question: Is Je'Rod Cherry good enough to start at SS so Wilson can move back to cornerback.
George Bissell
Chepachet, R.I.

I think Tully will make the team and I predict he will surprise some with a strong training camp. If Cherry was good enough to start at safety he would have started last year. He is a veteran special teamer and his ability to perform in the kicking game keeps him employed.

Just a thought on the drafting of Ben Watson: Scoring in the Red zone has been a problem in recent years. If not for #4, the Pats would have lost a few more games this past year. Watson and a 3 tight end set will give them good receivers used to fighting through traffic when they get close to the G-line. It will also let them have extra blocking on the same plays to open up space for the running back if needed. I think that Watson's addition to the line will improve the red zone offense and give the Pats a larger winning margin this year. Love AskPFW, keep up the GR8 work! And as Dave Q used to end his PVN: Go Pats!
Ken Charles
Nashua, N.H.

Thanks. Your comments stand alone. Assuming Watson can catch, I think he will give the Patriots additionally flexibility in formationing and personnel groupings. Charlie Weis will be like a mad scientist devising plays.

Great job you guys! Keep up the awesome work! Wow, you all should be in the Patriots Media Hall of fame (if such a thing exists, if not we should make one just for you all)! OK, now that I sucked up, my question has to do with the fans of Patriots Nation. Are the fans becoming big babies and full of themselves much like a lot of pro athletes do after becoming champions? And I did not search the web to find a possible answer. P.S. Please, pretty please w/sugar on top answer my question. I need to be recognized as a faithful lifetime Pats fan. If you don't answer I will write nasty emails until you do! Sob, sob, Whaaaaaaa!
The greatest Pats fan,
Bryan... er ... I mean Scott
Chicopee, Mass.

Boy oh boy, the begging is reaching new lows. Have you people no self-respect? To the victor go the spoils. It's not every year Patriots fans get to sit atop the football world and look down. Humility is important because someone will always knock you off the mountain, but the bragging rights were earned as long as it remains harmless and within reason.

(1) I read on a fantasy football site that P.K. Sam showed awful cardio, and was out of breath during the warm-ups. Should they hang a box of donuts over the treadmill or did that only work for Antowain Smith? But seriously, is this a real worry or something that was reported with a tad of hyperbole?(2) Also is Dan Klecko going to really stay at LB or is it too early to tell? Who might he replace in the middle if that happens? Thanks for making us read it on another site!(3) Since rookie WRs seldom make a huge impact, is it possible that Bethel Johnson could take a lead role in this office across from Deion Branch? Those kick returns were nothing but speed, he just plain outran the Colts. Talk about "showing a flash". I love Troy Brown, but can he fend off these young speedsters forever?(4) If a player takes a contract elsewhere after years of service, can his jersey still be retired where he played the most even if he doesn't return? For example, if we release or someday lose Willy McG, Tedy Bruschi, or Troy Brown, to another team does that mean the Patriots would not retire their jersey? All three seem like leading candidates and have provided years of emotional memories for us fans.

Mike Murphy
Hilton, N.Y.

OK, one at a time here. P.K. Sam was somewhat out of shape at mini-camp, at least it appeared so. He had his hands on top of his helmet anytime he wasn't running a route or taking part in a drill and it made it look like he was sucking wind. I wasn't on the field to be certain of that, but that's what it looked like from the stands. And telling you this is probably exactly why the media is not allowed at practice during the season. But I wouldn't worry about his conditioning unless he returns in July in the same shape.
It appears that Klecko will play linebacker, maybe inside and outside. He will have an awfully hard time making the club as a defensive lineman, although I would expect to see him with his hand on the ground in sub defenses as an interior pass rusher.
I'm not sure Bethel is ready to jump in and start. I think that job still belongs to Troy Brown. Bethel needs to just come in and work hard and prove he fully grasps the offense and its concepts. His speed is terrific, but he needs to prove he can be a consistent route-runner and contributor. Once he does that, we can discuss a starting role.
The Patriots probably won't retire a number anytime soon. There aren't enough numbers available to keep taking some out of the rotation. Instead, players get inducted into the team Hall of Fame and typically have to be gone five years to warrant consideration. All of those guys you mentioned will be considered some day.

I was talking to a New Yorker friend of mine recently, and he said "Blah blah blah RAIDERS GAME blah blah blah TUCK RULE blah blah blah RULE CHANGE." (That's an abridged version of events from the now-classic New England vs. Oakland playoff game, in which a Brady "fumble" was ruled an incomplete forward pass because his arm was moving forward when the ball was stripped.) Would you believe I STILL get a hard time over this?Anyway, my friend insists the NFL subsequently reviewed and changed the "tuck rule" after this incident. I say the rule still stands and the NFL never even considered changing it.If I win this bet, my friend, the BIG Jets fan, has to wear my Patriots cap to the Jets season opener. And if I lose... I suffer the travesty of wearing a Jets cap to a Patriots game.

Ryan P.
Springfield, Mass.

Don't fret Ryan. Your friend will be wearing Patriots colors to the swamp the Jets still call home. The rule was discussed by the Competition Committee but remains intact.

I have heard rumors that Dan Klecko might be moved to linebacker. It sounds like a great idea .I remember when Teddy Bruschi came into the league. He had been a lineman in college and has turned into an awesome linebacker. What do you think?
Tom Mazzaglia
Lynn, Mass.

My buddy Bobby just moved to Lynn. You know him? You know, Bobby Six? Forget it. Klecko could be moved, but don't compare him to Bruschi yet. He has to prove that he can play with enough speed and quickness to be an NFL linebacker. He weighs about 275, which is 30 pounds more than Bruschi. I think he will be used in sub defenses where Belichick can creatively take advantage of his versatility.

Hey guys, fabulous job on keeping diehard Pats fans like myself going through the offseason withdrawals!! First of all, I am employed by Jostens who made the Pats Super Bowl rings after they beat the Rams and are doing the same this year. I am very proud to be with the company that the Pats realize is the best for rings!!!! OK, enough about that...now for a football question. In your opinion is the "Coffin Corner" punt a lost art, or what? Very rarely do you ever see that anymore ala Ray Guy and do you think that Josh Miller, as good as he is, will be able to execute this very valuable move? I do think field position is the single most important statistic in the NFL and would love to see this incorporated into the Pats system. Pats will repeat!!!! and again....you PFW writers keep up the fantastic job!!
Allan Beaulieu
Waseca, Minn.

I'm not sure it's a lost art. I have asked about this in the past and believe that coaches are looking for big plays in the kicking game and kicking the ball out of bounds eliminates the chance to get a turnover. Teams would rather force returners to judge the ball and make a decision to catch it, try to return it, let it bounce or try to catch it, but fumble it. If you kick it out of bounds, you eliminate the chance for human error. It's all about putting pressure on a player to make a good decision and then execute well.

Seymour is now generally considered by NFL personnel men as one of the top four or five d-linemen in the league. I think some might even claim that he's the top player at his position because of his versatility. It's hard to see the defense of the Patriots NOT suffering dramatically in his absence. He keeps o-linemen off Bruschi, and prevents double teams on each of the other d-linemen. So clearly keeping him is a top priority. I would even argue that he is the single most important player for the Patriots next to Tom Brady. Is there any chance that the Patriots would put the franchise tag on him next year? This will of course run the risk of alienating him and as we know he isn't the biggest Belichick fan to begin with (In my opinion it was simply foolish to keep him out of the starting lineup after he stayed a day too long at his mother's side when she was terribly ill). Any word on how Pioli and Belichick might proceed with him?
Andy
New York, N.Y.

First off, Richard was gone to mourn the death of a grandparent and I'm unaware of any disdain he has for the coach even though he clearly disagreed with Belichick's decision to sit him for the first quarter of the Jaguars game. Secondly, his contract runs through 2006 so he still has two full years left after this upcoming season. His contract is not an issue at this time. I agree, though, that he is terrific and he's still improving. Scary.

Please help! I cannot find this information anywhere and you are my only hope (is that desperate enough?)! What is the difference between a free safety and a strong safety?
Jonathan
West Bridgewater, Mass.

Well basically, the strong safety lines up on the strong side of the formation, which is the side on which the tight end is lined up, while the free safety is on the weak side. Typically, the strong safety is more apt to play down in the box and play the run while a free safety might have more coverage responsibilities.

If the Pats had to release one WR how much would Troy Brown save them? David Patten? Dedric Ward? Do you think J.J. Stokes will get a super bowl ring?
Roger
Biddeford, Maine

I believe the Pats would save just more than $2 million if Troy were let go but would be on the hook for around $2 million as well without the player. If Patten were let go, they would save about $1 million with a cap cost of about $250,000. Ward is not on the team and Stokes will get a ring.

I've looked at the upcoming year's schedule and it doesn't seem to be as difficult as one would assume for a Super Bowl Champ. How does the league determine the teams they face and which team do you see giving them the biggest challenge?
Rad
Cranston, R.I.

The schedule formula is available on patriots.com. But the Patriots play each division opponent two times (six games), one full AFC division other than their own (four games), one full NFC division (four games) and then play two games against the AFC teams that finished in the same spot in the standings within their own division, but are not in the division the Patriots are already scheduled to play. For example, the Patriots play the AFC North this year – Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. As the AFC East Champ, they will also play the division winners from the AFC South and West (Indy and KC). Those are the only two games determined by the previous year's standing. I will quote Bill Belichick and say that I think all the games are a big challenge. I think it's pointless to project that in May.

With all of the receivers (7 I believe) on the roster right now, who do you guys see as being the odd men out? My personal opinion is that Patten is gone and that P.K. Sam will emerge in training camp as a viable 4th receiver. I watched that guy at FSU and he made some tremendous plays. Thoughts?
Jason
Gardner, Mass.

I think Stokes has to be considered a long shot and then it's anyone's guess. Givens, Branch and Johnson are locks. Brown should be as well. That leaves Patten and Sam likely fighting for one spot, although with the injury issues that group had last year, it's not out of the question to keep six guys.

Hey there, nice people from PFW! Merry Xmas to all, although I'm a bit late. I'm an outside-Boston Pats fan (in fact, outside-US fan), but I try to keep up with everything over there. I have two little, quick questions I think you might slip in your next update. Can you? Well, thanks. Let's go to them:First: We can all see Davey is making quite progress as a player, and everyone's been making so much noise about him. Let's say, if he leads the Thunder to a World Bowl win, what do you think his future will be? Will he stay at the Pats? Will we trade him? I mean, we already got Mr. Almighty Brady, and I'm quite happy with it. We'll keep Davey as a secondary man, an Injury Replacer?Second: Do you know if there's anyway I can subscribe to NFL Network over here in Brazil?Well, thank you very much!

Carlos Augusto
Porto Alegre
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

I think Davey will be here as the backup unless somebody bowls the Patriots over with a trade proposal, which I don't anticipate unless he has an unbelievable summer and preseason and even then, I'm not sure that would be enough for a team to come in with a worthy offer. The Patriots are trying to develop him to be a solid guy behind Tom so that if something happens, Davey could step in and win. I think they sent him to Europe to get him some playing time and so they could evaluate his progress. The side benefit of playing well is the exposure and what that does to teams in need of a quarterback. NFL Network is only offered to Direct TV subscribers. Is that offered in Brazil? If so, check with that company.

How tall and how much do Belichick, Pioli, Mr. Kraft and all PFW Crew weigh? 40 times and Wonderlic score if possible too. Thanks. Great Job Guys!
Rip Curl
Brighton, Mass.

We're all workout warriors with incredible test scores. Trust me. The PFW crew, the men I mean, Andy Hart aside, might be a little on the heavy side.

Not so much a question as a comment. I just received my latest issue of Patriots Football Weekly and really enjoyed reading the pieces on the new draft picks. As the season progresses it would be nice to hear about some of the undrafted players. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Mark
No. Oxford, Mass.

Thank you for taking the time to send the kind words.

On the latest depth chart it says that Dexter Reid is #2, I thought that he was 29. Can you clear this up for me? And also still on the depth chart there are "w" before some of the names, can u tell me what those mean? Thanx
Greg K
Weston, Conn.

Reid wore No. 2 during the rookie mini-camp practices. He wore No. 2 in high school and when he couldn't wear it in college (I assume somebody had it already), he wore 24 because the difference between the numbers was two. The "w" on the depth chart means he is wearing the white practice jersey (offensive player) with that number on it because there are two people wearing the number for the time being. Some players have a "b" in front, which indicates blue practice jersey (defensive player).

Yo what's up PFW goons? It's your boy Steve in Greensboro. I just read a question about the receiving corps and am quite unsettled right now. It would be a travesty for the Patriots to get rid of Troy Brown. I understand that he's getting old and that Belichick is going to do whatever he wants, but PK Sam better be pretty incredible to warrant such a move, I would say drop Patten and one of the overstocks of young talent, how about Branch. I feel Givens is ready to step into that 60-80 catch per season range that Branch now occupies. Givens is not as fast as Branch, but expanded playing time for Bethel Johnson could be the easy remedy. Maybe if they traded Branch they could get something quality in return. I remember when Troy Brown came to the Pats in the Drew Bledsoe draft in 1993. It was the first year of the blue uniforms and they had red numbers that first year, remember that? Troy Brown wore #6 that preseason and wasn't even their highest rated new draft pick at receiver. That was Ray Crittenden (#1 preseason, #81 his only season with the Pats) the soccer player from V-Tech. I think Troy was actually cut once and came back. He got limited balls thrown his way because the #1 receiver was all pro (joke) Michael Timpson. As far as I'm concerned Troy Brown is the Patriots. On a draft note I'm excited about Cedric Cobbs from Arkansas. He was big bruising back at Arkansas and I've seen him play many times, I think our running woes are over now that we got Cobbs, Dillon and a still capable Kevin Faulk. I'll let you guys do what you do. Sorry its not a question.
Steve
Greensboro, N.C.

Thanks for the Troy Brown history lesson. Everybody loves Troy Brown Steve, but even if it's not this year, which I don't expect it to be, it's going to end here for him someday. Troy will produce this season for the Patriots and then be a free agent. At that point, it will be interesting to see if he continues playing, where and for how much. I, for one, hope he retires a Patriot. But if he doesn't, he doesn't. He has been a class act and an example to follow since he arrived here and I expect that he will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame someday. He'd certainly have my vote.

I just wanted to thank you guys so much for having ask PFW. It really helps keep us Pat fans up to date with all the news in Foxborough. Keep up the great work. Quick question...Mel Kiper says that the Pats reached a lot on their two safety picks(Scott, Reid)in the draft. I still think that this position could use a free agent pick-up. Scott and Reid look like special teamers at best. Whatever happened to the safety from the Titans who visited the Pats? Any other possibilities? This position has me worried.
Patman
Boise, Idaho

Your worries are legit. I'm not sure either of these guys could step in as rookies. As far as Mel Kiper goes, I don't really care what he says about middle-round guys. That's not to disrespect him because he knows a heck of a lot more about the draft and the college players than I've ever dreamed of knowing, but he talks about players and can't relate them to systems. The Patriots were attracted to these safeties by their production, versatility and fit within their defensive system. Whether they can play safety in the NFL yet remains to be seen, which is why I think it's fair to have some trepidation about the Pats safety situation. They could still add a veteran here and I believe Scott McGarrahan re-signed with the Titans. He's a special teamer.

Last year RB Mike Cloud played very well in the time he was given, don't you think he should be given a chance to start? (Just Kidding!!! I hadn't heard a Mike Cloud question in a few weeks so I figured we were due for one.) Anyway, my real question is: What is your opinion on the trade rumors sending Dallas OL Larry Allen to the Patriots for a 3rd or 4th draft pick, and do you think BB and SP would be willing to take on that kind of contract? Also, if we did trade for him would we do it during training camp like we did last year with Ted Washington?
Michael Rumsey
Charlotte, N.C.

If someone throws something out there on a web site, does that make it a rumor? I'm sure if it was reported by anyone on the web, it will find its way to print. It could be valid, although I'd be surprised. Parcells couldn't seem to motivate Allen last year and since he and Belichick have similar expectations of players, I wouldn't think Allen would fit in New England. He's on the downside and seems to be having trouble carrying his weight. I would not trade a draft pick for Allen today unless it was a sixth or seventh rounder and even then I might hesitate at this point in Allen's career.

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