I know that you haven't watched much scouting tape, but two major needs are CB and LB. I know the LB's are OK for a year or two, but, Gholston is a beast, OK he's a DE, but he's got everything to be an OLB/MLB/DE (in 4-3 plays). I'd love to see him and two CB's taken with 3 of the four first day picks. Can you see BB and co. taking a risk of a college DE and converting him to OLB with such a high pick?
Tim, there is no way I would take Vernon Gholston with the seventh pick. I think he's a good player but I'm not sure how effective he would be in a 3-4 defense. That's just too high to take a guy like that in my opinion. I love USC's Rey Maualuga but unfortunately for the Patriots, he decided to stay in school. It's extremely early but just looking at the board, my guess would be that the Patriots take a corner at seven. South Florida's Mike Jenkins could be a definite possibility depending on how he performs at the combine. Also, look for my guy Antoine Cason in Round 2. I still say he'll wind up being the best corner to come out of this draft.
With all the drama surrounding our boys, I haven't been able figure out whether Brandon Merriweather has justified being our top pick last year. I've barely heard him mentioned; and I recall some missed tackles earlier in the year, but I was encouraged to see him on the field a whole lot during crunch time against the Jaguars. Kindly rate his rookie season for us please.
I think we should be encouraged by Meriweather's rookie campaign. He's seen more playing time late in the year on a team that that's undefeated. We have to remember that the Patriots are a very talented team, so the fact that Meriweather is getting on the field during the most important games of the year is a good sign in my opinion. The one problem I see with Meriweather is his hands. He actually could have four or five interceptions this year if he could catch the ball. If he did hang on to those picks, people would be raving about him. I think he's come a long way this season and that's what you're looking for out of a first-year player.
Being a Boston sports fan, I of course must find a cloud in every silver lining, and as such, I ask you this: how great a concern is the Pats' recent tendency to incur really stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalties? Is it a necessary and inevitable consequence of playing an aggressive style of defense? I can't imagine BB is too thrilled about it.Derek Winsor
My guess is that once Rodney Harrison retires the personal foul penalties will decrease dramatically. I don't mind these penalties. I know they can hurt the team but I would rather have a defense be overly aggressive than passive. Besides, No. 37 has been around too long to change his ways now, so we'll just have to live with his style of play. I wish more people played the way Harrison does but with all the rules and regulations now in the NFL, more safeties play like Roy Williams and Harrison. That's not meant to be a compliment to Williams either.
I have a hypothetical question for you guys. Let's go back to 2007 AFC Championship game and what if on 3rd and short late in the 4th quarter, Brown cuts his route short and Brady completes the pass, Patriots run more time off the clock, beat the Colts and go on to win the Super Bowl. Do you think that in the offseason that Bill and Scott would make the moves that they did in obtaining Moss, Stallworth, Welker, and Thomas? Would the team be sitting where they are today at a chance to rewrite history?
I think every offseason Belichick and Pioli sit down and talk about how to improve the team. If you look at the guys the Patriots acquired, virtually all of them signed cap-friendly deals. Adalius Thomas admitted he could have gotten more money in San Fran. Moss and Stallworth were bargains. The only player the Pats had to commit long-term money to is Wes Welker. My guess is Belichick and Pioli evaluate the team every offseason and look for ways to improve it. The only difference this year was they improved it to the point where the Patriots could down as the greatest team in NFL history with one more win.
Now I know it's Wednesday and the Conference Championships haven't been played yet (although they will when the next mailbag is answered) and I just want to ask what you think of a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl. In a year, where Tom Brady and Brett Favre combined to rewrite nearly every passing record, how great would it be to see them face off in the Super Bowl? Think about it: the Legend of Brett Favre leading his Packers at the age of 38 against the Legacy of Tom Brady and his undefeated Patriots. Can there be a better dream matchup? By the way, I love both the Packers and the Patriots and I would personally love to see this game, like I loved it when they played in Super Bowl XXXI.Josh Strzeszkowski
Well Josh, the good news is two years from now the Packers will be traveling to Gillette Stadium, so you'll get your wish. And don't worry I'm sure Brett Favre will still be playing after spending all offseason agonizing over his decision. The guy is like Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th. Every time you think he'd dead, he pops right back up. Instead of Favre, you get two weeks of Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, the Manning brother who played receiver at Ole Miss, the Manning's dog, Peyton Manning commercials that now have Eli, Archie and his mother in them as well. Don't worry all is well.
Is there any other state that Boston sports teams have beaten up on in the last few years more than they've beaten up on California? The Pats have ended the season of a California team 3 times since it all began in 2001 (4 times if you count the (formerly L.A.) Rams). 2001 Pats: Beat Raiders and Rams 2006 Pats: Beat Chargers 2007 Pats: Beat Chargers And our beloved Red Sox? 2003: Beat A's 2004: Beat Angels 2007: Beat Angels So in the first 7 years of this century, a Boston sports team has ended the season of 7 California sports teams. My dream is the Celtics meeting and beating the Lakers in this year's NBA finals.
That's interesting Kevin, I didn't realize that. You mean we found another state that now hates the Patriots? I think that finally brings the total to 49. I would love to see the Lakers and Celtics face off in the finals. That would be huge for the NBA. I was a big Magic Johnson fan growing up and I used to love it when he and Bird would square off in the NBA Finals. It certainly would make the finals interesting for the first time in a long while. And as for California being the state that hates the Patriots the most, I would say wait two weeks. My guess is New York will still remain No. 1 on that list once the Super Bowl is over.
Hi. I couldn't help but notice that Tom Brady was not acting "himself" during the AFC Championship game. He looked hurt, and did not move his mouth much during interviews after. Did the headshot he took in the first period dislocate his jaw, or injure him in any way?
Well Paul, as we all know by now, Brady was seen in New York wearing a boot on his foot. Personally, I don't think the injury is that serious. Players wear those boots for minor injuries all the time. It's basically worn to immobilize the foot and ankle and prevent it from moving so a player can heel. Brady has dealt with minor injuries all year long. He wears this shoulder harness in the locker room filled with ice all the time. If the tabloids got a pictured of that, they would think his career was over it looks so bad.
The bottom line is even if Brady was injured on Sunday, he still finished the game. If I had to place a wager, I would bet that Brady not only plays in the Super Bowl but also wins the MVP award. I think sometimes we need to tip our hat to the other team and I thought the Chargers defense played a great game. I know it's hard to believe but the other team gets paid to play too. I think when you add up the way the Chargers defense played, the weather and a possibility of a minor injury, it helps to explain Brady's performance on Sunday.
Ok, why did ya'll lose half of your preseason games and then win all of your postseason games?
Well, I think the Patriots weighed the options and in the end, they figured it would be better to lose half of their preseason games instead of losing half of their postseason games. Despite being 18-0 and on the verge of history, I'm sure those two preseason losses are eating away at the Patriots. Hopefully the team will regroup this offseason, come back more focused next year and go undefeated in the preseason. That is the goal of every NFL team.
How many times have the Pats gone to #33 when they had to have a first down or they had to have a score? All of Tom's TD passes and all of Randy's catches have been great and great fun to watch. But without Kevin's performance this year I don't think they would be 18-0 heading for #19. What do you guys think?
I think Faulk is a big part of the Patriots success but I'm not ready to say the team wouldn't be 18-0 without him. The Patriots are loaded with talent and with Brady at the helm, my guess is he would find another open receiver to dump the ball off to if Faulk wasn't out there. I'm not trying to diminish what Faulk does because he's a very good player. However, Faulk is a complimentary player on a great team and despite his importance to the offense, it's my opinion that the Patriots would probably still be undefeated without him. Although you are right, Faulk does shine in the biggest games and is the most feared third-down back in the NFL. Hey, remember a couple of preseasons ago when some fans wanted to cut Faulk in favor of Patrick Cobbs?
It seemed like the Patriots, after winning the game against the Chargers, look more relieved than happy. It almost looks like they are really spent emotionally with all this "perfect season" media frenzy. Do you think that this has contributed to there good but not necessarily great play over the last six weeks? Do they have enough gas in the tank to beat a Giants team that looks fresh, confident and ready for another round with the Pats?Shane C
I think you are right on the money Shane. The Patriots have had playoff-type pressure on them since they beat the Colts in early November. Once the playoffs started, every team had to win but for the Patriots, they've been dealing with that pressure for two months already. I think they are definitely drained emotionally. You can kind of see it on their faces. But having said that, there's no way they won't be ready to go for the Super Bowl. They've come this far and now they need one more win to make history and go down as the greatest team to ever play the game. Sure, it's taken its toll on them over the season but I expect the Patriots to play one of their best games of the year in two weeks. That's not good news for the Giants.
What two or three quality players that are unrestricted free agents do you Andy, Tom and Paul think take a reduction in salary to play in NE?
One player to keep an eye is Cowboys OLB Greg Ellis. Following Dallas' loss to the Giants, Ellis basically said he didn't want to be a Cowboy anymore, suggesting Anthony Spencer should start next year in his place. I also had a source down in Big D tell me that Ellis wants to go to a Super Bowl contender and mentioned the Patriots as a team he would like to play for. Ellis would be a logical Belichick addition, a hungry veteran who will take less money to come to New England because he wants to win a Super Bowl. Not to mention that Ellis can still play and would really help the team at outside linebacker. Watch out for Ellis this offseason because he doesn't want to play for the Cowboys anymore. That I know for certain.
What do you think about LT's performance on Sunday?
What performance? Hey, LT gave it one series before he took himself out of the game. He said that he was only 50 percent and it would be better if Turner and Sproles where in the game. That sounds like something players want to hear from their leader. Let me ask you something: How healthy do you think Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates were? Maybe 50 percent at best? Couldn't you make an argument that the Chargers would have been better off without those guys on the field? Sure you could but unlike LT, Rivers and Gates are competitors and wanted to help their team win the biggest game of the year.
That's ok though, at least LT was warm sitting on a heated bench wearing a parka. Don't worry, fantasy football Tomlinson will put up big numbers against the Raiders next year in Week 2 during a meaningless game. I love the "I was only 50 percent comment." Can't you see Rodney Harrison or Tom Brady saying that? "Bill, I'm only at 50 percent today, put someone else in." I guess when your leader is LaDainian Tomlinson it explains why the team has no leadership.
Due to the fact that we will be in Arizona for the Super Bowl, there will be no Ask PFW next week. However, we will have constant updates from the Super Bowl through our PFW blog and stories on Patriots.com. Ask PFW will return the week after the Super Bowl.