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Patriots Replay Thu May 28 | 02:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: All Samuel, all the time

What do you think of this trade? Asante Samuel, Matt Cassel and one of the 1st round picks in the 08 draft to Kansas City for Larry Johnson? The Patriots could sign Larry Johnson with the $7.79 million Asante doesn't want to play for.Don King

I have news for you my friend, you'll need a heck of a lot more than $7.79 million to keep Larry Johnson happy. Asante Samuel would be a bargain compared to the money LJ will demand. By the way, boxing hasn't been the same since you fixed that Marvin Hagler/Sugar Ray Leonard fight. Anyone with eyes could see that Hagler won that fight easily.
-Tom Casale

Will the Pats have three QBs in the season including Brady, Cassel and Gutierrez or will they put the Rookie QB on the Practice Squad. Next question is, what to you think about the chances to see Matt Gutierrez having at least one appearance in a quarter of a preseason game? Will he have a chance to show his talent or will this be only a thing for Brady and Cassel? I think Matt has a lot of talent and I'd love to see him playing on a pro level.
Roman Brunnemann

I think you'll definitely see Gutierrez get some work late in preseason games. He has shown a lively arm in practices so far but I still think Gutierrez has a long way to go before he makes this team. My money is on him possibly being part of the practice squad to start the year unless he really impresses during training camp and the preseason.
-Tom Casale

Why is Meriweather missing from mini-camp? I realize the camp is "optional", but as a rookie it seems like he should be spending as much time with the team as possible. Is this a contract issue? After all the media bashing he took on draft day, I'll feel better when he's there suited up with the team showing he's worth the $$ that the Pats will be sending his way.Mike Merrell

It was reported that Meriweather missed mini-camp because of a sore hamstring. It isn't a contract issue because a majority of the time rookies take part in mini-camp without having a contract in place. Also, just because he wasn't on the field doesn't mean he isn't spending time with the team. I'm sure he's around doing all the mental preparation like watching film and attending meetings. I think the team is just being smart and not pushing him this early in the offseason so he's ready to go by training camp.
-Tom Casale

What's the latest on Asante Samuel? You would figure he would want to stay in New England not only because their a super bowl contender, but also because he's already mastered what I imagine is a very confusing Bill Belichick defense. And if Samuel didn't stay, who would be in the starting secondary? Would Belichick move Eugene Wilson back to his college position at corner, and if he did who would take his safety spot. Or who would take Samuels corner spot, and do u think this could cause a soft spot in the secondary?Michael Pearson

I have no news on the Samuel situation, so I'm not sure where the two sides stand at the moment. As for Wilson moving to corner, I just don't see it. Every year we talk about Wilson moving to cornerback and every year he plays safety. I know he's coming back from a hamstring injury but Wilson didn't look quick enough at mini-camp to play corner in my opinion. Obviously, I'm not saying that Wilson will never line up there, but I don't think it will be his primary position.

My guess is if Samuel doesn't report, Chad Scott will start opposite Ellis Hobbs. The coaching staff seems to trust Scott and while he doesn't possess the speed he once did, Scott is a smart, savvy veteran who knows the system. As for Wilson, you'll most likely see him starting at safety for the season opener, just like he does every year.
-Tom Casale

Sorry to ask a newbie question, but in my defense, I did spend some time asking folks that have followed football a lot longer than I have, and I did poke around on the internet a fair amount looking for an answer. So here it goes - we hear a lot about "all-pros", but what exactly is an "all-pro"? Does it relate to how many times or in what capacity a player goes to the pro-bowl, and if so, what would it mean to be voted to the pro-bowl but not be called an "all-pro"? Thanks for answering my question, as amature-ish as it sounds.John Butziger

All Pro and Pro Bowl players are not the same. Players are voted to the Pro Bowl by fans, coaches and other players. Meanwhile, a player becomes an All Pro by a vote from The Associated Press - a nationwide panel of writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. A lot of times you'll see a Pro Bowl player listed as an All Pro. That's not correct. The two honors are completely different. Also, on the All Pro team there is only one quarterback who gets the honor every year, while there are usually 5-6 quarterbacks who make the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl gets all the attention because of the actual game but being named an All Pro is a greater honor because it recognizes the absolute best at a particular position regardless of conference. I hope this helps and don't be embarrassed by the question. There are reporters – both locally and nationally – who make this mistake all the time.
-Tom Casale

Moss, Moss, Moss! All I hear about is Randy Moss on any ESPN show, NFL Network, and even Patriots.com. What about the other receivers? Why hasn't Stallworth been talked about? I think this guy has the potential to have a better year than any of the Pats receivers. He's in the prime of his career and probably won't see as many double teams as Randy, yet he gets no love in the media. How are his workouts and minicamp practices going? Has he established any sort of chemistry with Tom yet? Has he gotten with Tom for any individual sessions yet? This guy is a big play receiver like Randy but no one is talking about him and what he brings to the table. Give me some insight on this PFW.Jason Gabrielson

I'm really not sure what you are talking about. During mini-camp, I personally blogged non-stop about all the receivers. Some have even accused me of having an unhealthy man-crush on Wes Welker because I was gushing over him so much. I also talked a bunch about Reche Caldwell having a great camp and Kelley Washington struggling to catch the ball. Plus, the local media had stories on Welker, Stallworth, Caldwell, Washington and Jabar Gaffney during mini-camp, so I'm not sure where you are getting your information. Sure, the day Moss talked to the media, he was the story. If that surprises you, I don't know what to say. If Randy Moss holds a press conference and a reporter writes about Kelley Washington instead, he'll be out of a job because Moss is the story that day.

In all, I counted nine stories on receivers not named Randy Moss by local writers over the three days mini-camp took place. That's pretty good considering both Moss and Tom Brady held a press conference on two of those days, so I don't agree with your argument that the other receivers are being ignored by the media. You may need to do a better job looking for the information because it was out there.
-Tom Casale

If Samuel holds out or gets traded that means the starting CB will Hobbs and either Gay or James. Who do you think will start next top Hobbs and will that secondly hurt the Pats chances of making it to the Super Bowl this year.Roger Souza

As I stated above, I believe Chad Scott will be the starting cornerback if Samuel doesn't sign. I would scratch Tory James off the list. I know people look at his numbers over the years but in my opinion, he's not a starting caliber corner at this stage in his career. James had a tough mini-camp and at the age of 34, I think he's fighting just to make the team as the fourth or fifth corner. I'm not saying James won't be effective in a reserve role, I just don't think he can be an every week starter, especially when you take into account that he's new to the system.

I believe the Patriots are a Super Bowl contender with or without Samuel. Having Samuel would obviously help but the Patriots have won championships before without a star-studded cast of defensive backs. Remember Earthwind Moreland? Nobody does a better job than Bill Belichick when it comes to masking weaknesses in the secondary. Besides, with the talent of New England's front seven and Adalius Thomas terrorizing quarterbacks off the edge, whoever lines up at corner won't have to cover their man for very long.
-Tom Casale

I couldn't find a website for Asante Samuel himself or any correct area to ask the specific question I think its a question that needs to be asked to the NFL its self also If Asante Samuel does hold out until week 10. And you guys go to the Super Bowl and win. Should he receive a Super Bowl ring? I don't think so. A player that does not live by a contract and is detrimental to the team by holding out should not be given a Super Bowl ring.David Ross

Yes, he should. Any player who contributes – including guys on the practice squad – should, and will, receive a Super Bowl ring. Let's put it this way: If the Patriots win the Super Bowl there's a good chance Tom Casale will get a ring. No matter how long Samuel holds out, I think we would all agree that he has more to do with the team's success than I do. If Samuel plays and the Patriots win it all, he gets a ring. It's that simple.
-Tom Casale

It seems like the Pats WR's are responding pretty positively to the competition at this point. Is that surprising? The Pats seemed to lose their rep for being a "character-first" team after the Draft and Moss, but if this many big time WR's (a position known for big egos) can keep it up, I think they've redeemed themselves. I see Washington being the odd man out, he feels like this year's Doug Gabriel.Will Bortolin

I'm not sure if it's surprising because all of these guys are competitors. I couldn't believe the difference in overall talent from last year to this year. The fact that Reche Caldwell could be the No. 4 receiver for the Patriots is scary. I really don't see Randy Moss being a problem at all. If he really wants to win, he's on the right team. No matter what happens in 2007, the Patriots should, at the very least, compete for a championship, barring a rash of crucial injuries. That in its self should keep Moss happy enough to the point where he doesn't start to get disgruntled like he did in Minnesota and Oakland.

Washington did struggle with his consistency at mini-camp. He had trouble hanging onto the football and for some reason Washington likes to jump in the air to make a catch when he doesn't have to. There's no doubting he has the physical ability, so I wouldn't write him off quite yet. Washington could still make this team with a strong training camp but right now I would put Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney ahead of him if I were to rank the wide receivers.
-Tom Casale

My questions to the experts at your website have to do with Kevin Faulk and Asante Samuel. Does it seem likely that Faulk will again be the teams third down back again this year? For a while he was listed ahead of Sammy Morris on the depth chart. Who do you all think brings more to the table? Is there a chance that Faulk could get caught?Kevin Scheve

I really don't see Faulk's role changing at all. I know he coughs the ball up sometimes but in my opinion, Kevin Faulk is very good at what he's asked to do for this team. I believe Morris will also be used on passing downs (The two could line up in the same backfield from time-to-time as well) but he brings a little more power to the table than Faulk does. Morris is no Corey Dillon but he can line up and run between the tackles more often than Faulk, who does the bulk of his damage on draws and quick hitters up the middle.

The key is the health of Laurence Maroney. Faulk and Morris are both versatile players who can do a lot for the Patriots, but Maroney is the one true every-down back on this roster. Ideally, Maroney will get the bulk of the carries, Faulk will be the primary third-down back, while Morris and Heath Evans each grab a couple of carries and help out in the passing game. If everyone stays healthy, I think that's how you'll see the running back position play out this year.
-Tom Casale

Have you guys seen rookie linebacker Justin Rogers [late round draft pick from SMU] out on the field during mini-camp at all? Just wondering how he and the other rookie linebackers are doing so far learning the complicated D.Chip Heard

It was hard to get a good read on the linebackers during mini-camp. In that kind of practice setting, it's usually the receivers, defensive backs and quarterbacks that stand out. It's different from training camp where contact is allowed and a player like Rogers can actually work live against offensive linemen and rush the quarterback. I thought Oscar Lua showed some good leadership skills on the field and he also appears to be a quick learner. I really didn't get a good feel for Rogers, however, because he was usually standing around listening to instructions. He'll get more opportunities in training camp once the players put the pads on. Although, I think he's going to have a tough time making the final 53 because the team seems to be high on second-year man Pierre Woods.
-Tom Casale

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