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Ask PFW: Coming out of the bye

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Randy Moss came out and said he would consider coming out of retirement in the right situation, playing with Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Do you think the Pats might take Moss up on this offer sometime in the season?
David K.

I saw the Moss comments and immediately had the same thought as you, but then after a minute or two I completely dismissed it. First, Moss hasn't been a truly productive player for years – probably going back to 2009 at this point. Second, it ended badly here the first time with Moss. He wasn't able to check his ego at the door and accept his role as a complementary part of the offense. He wants to be the show, and in order for that to happen he would have to be the center of the offense. That's clearly not going to happen with Rob Gronkowski here. So, while Bill Belichick has made a habit of keeping us all on our toes, coaxing Moss out of retirement wouldn't seem to make a lot of sense – especially with the offense currently clicking.
Paul Perillo

How is the week of practice coming off the bye different (and similar), compared to a week of practice from consecutive Sunday games?
Brett Larson

The biggest difference is the schedule itself. During a normal week the Patriots practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, hold a walk-through on Saturday and play Sunday. With the bye week the practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and then enjoyed four days off before returning to the facility on Monday to start another "normal" work week. Another big difference would be implementing the game plan. The Patriots probably worked on some stuff that was specific to the Colts last week but the game plan isn't put in place until the week of the game. The coaches use the bye to do some self-scouting, figuring out what's working and what changes need to be made. The players rest a bit and get ready for the stretch drive.
Paul Perillo

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I was wondering how come we haven't seen more of Brian Tyms this season? We keep hearing how much the Patriots miss that deep threat, yet the guy most likely to give it to them isn't in the game.**
Doug Tozier

I honestly haven't many people complaining about missing a deep threat over the past five or six weeks. The offense has been doing just fine without one – and in fact Tom Brady has been able to stretch the field a bit more as of late. Brandon LaFell got open deep twice against Denver a couple weeks ago, and even though Brady was unable to connect with him I felt the long balls opened up some other opportunities underneath. Tyms is a raw talent who has played sparingly so far. He was able to make a play in Buffalo but hasn't really had many other opportunities to do so since. I'd expect to see him get another chance or two to go deep, but I can't complain about the production of the offense as of late.
Paul Perillo

Just wondering during what are your thoughts on Brandon Browner so far? Even though his PI was borderline at best at the beginning of the Denver game, I'm willing to take a penalty here and there. I like his physicality and the tandem of him and finesse corner Darrelle Revis is powerful.
Rob Clark

The only thing I'd disagree with you about is labeling Revis a finesse corner. He's anything but, and really is quite physical. He's just more gifted than Browner and is more subtle with his contact. Browner has been as advertised: a big, physical corner who will get beat occasionally and commit penalties. He's averaged more than two flags a game since returning from suspension but he's also been part of a secondary that has performed pretty well during that time. I'd like to see him tone down the holding and grabbing and instead show his strong tackling skills. He presence has been an overall positive one but the penalties do need to be kept under control.
Paul Perillo

Why is James White, a fourth-round pick, hardly playing? Is he injured, or is he in Bill Belichick's "dog house?" I used to watch him when he played in Wisconsin, and he did pretty well there.
Ron Dionne

White hasn't had many opportunities and quite frankly when he has played he hasn't done much with them. He's looked a little tentative at times and lacks the burst through the line needed at the professional level. He hasn't played enough to get a real sense of his ability and perhaps he's the type of back who needs to get a lot of carries to find his rhythm. He appears to be more in the Shane Vereen mold than the traditional lead back role, so he won't likely get many chances the rest of the way as long as Vereen is healthy. I am still intrigued by White and believe he has the ability to succeed but his rookie season has been quiet thus far.
Paul Perillo

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My English is bad but my question is it possible watch a formation with two tight ends Rob Gronkowski /Tim Wright and use a playbook how of the 2011 Patriots did with Aaron Hernandez and Gronk?**
Sam Pizano

Your English is better than mine and yes it's possible for the Patriots to use two tight end sets with Gronk and Wright. The Patriots have actually used a fair amount of them already this season, with both Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui as the second tight end. Wright isn't much of a blocker, though, and is normally used as a receiver. Given the struggles of the offensive line, the Patriots have asked their extra tight ends to block a bit more often this season, and therefore Hoomanawanui has been used with Gronk at times. But there have also been occasions like against Cincinnati where Wright has gotten a lot of playing time and caught some passes. I'd expect this to continue to change the rest of the way depending on the specific game plan that week.
Paul Perillo

When is Sealver Siliga slated to come off IR? Is he progressing well and will he be ready when he is scheduled to return? Who's spot on the roster do you think he will take? Now that they have Jonathan Casillas, do you think Chris White's spot is redundant?
Markis

Siliga is eligible to return for the Week 12 game against Detroit, so the Patriots don't have to make any roster decisions for another week even if he's healthy enough to get back on the field. Assuming Siliga is able to get back in the lineup, I believe either Casey Walker or Alan Branch would be good candidates to go to make room for his return. Your suggestion of White would also make sense given Casillas' arrival. But Belichick seems to like special teams linebackers who can fill various roles, so keeping White and Casillas wouldn't be surprising. If you made me guess I'd pick Branch, but injuries could further complicate that scenario as well.
Paul Perillo

Just read Andy and Paul's selections for midseason MVP. I agree that both Brady and Gronk are certainly candidates for MVP, but I would not select an individual. I think the offensive line should be the MVP, since the KC game we no longer see the up the middle rush from defenders. It really drives me insane to see offensive lineman standing there giving it the old ole crap and not putting their hands on the defender in front of them. Since the KC game the offensive line has consistently tied up the defenders in the middle giving Brady the space to move up and complete passes. I know the coaches will never call out a specific unit for not doing their job, but the offensive line in both losses really let the team down.
Kevin Brydon

Well, obviously you already know how I feel on this topic. The offensive line could be worthy of most improved, but their early struggles took away any chance of MVP in my mind. In fact, early struggles by Brady gave Gronkowski the edge for MVP in my opinion. The offensive line has improved but to me it's more about Brady's improved mobility in the pocket than anything else. The group is coming together but still has some occasional lapses. As long as Brady keeps moving around the pocket and getting rid of the ball quickly the offense should continue to be productive.
Paul Perillo

Too many people are drinking the grape juice too early. As in recent years, I'm still looking for something from the defensive line to lift my spirits. In three games this year the Pats have been absolutely manhandled on the line of scrimmage (Miami, Chiefs and Jets). Unless we can get much better play and consistent pressure on the quarterback from a four-man front, when playoff time and the bad weather come around I'm afraid this edition of the Patriots will end up like the last five editions have ended up. When are Chandler Jones and his sorely needed playmaking ability expected back on the field?
Ed Grady

I have some of the same concerns that you did with regard to the front seven. The linebackers are awfully thin without Jerod Mayo, and Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower are going to play a lot of snaps the rest of the way. That concerns be greatly considering the way the front was abused in the games that you mentioned. Belichick had no updates on Chandler Jones when asked about him earlier in the week, and I wouldn't expect to see him until the very tail end of the regular season at the earliest based on some reports. Even with Jones the pressure on the quarterback wasn't all that impressive, so you raise a valid point. We'll just have to wait to see how things will come together.
Paul Perillo

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After the Broncos game, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe posted an article about how Belichick's defensive game plan was really six game plans in one, the Patriots had no tendencies, that worked well against Manning. "Manning studied the still photos on the sideline, but it was pointless. He wouldn't see the same looks for the rest of the game." So, my question is, if that works so well, why not do it more often? Would it just be too hard to pull off on a weekly basis?**
Sean Oxford

First I'm not sure I would totally agree with the article in terms of the specifics. The Patriots changed their coverages often during the Broncos game and I know there are times when they've done that in the past. The simple answer to your question is, most opponents don't require that much change within a specific game plan. Belichick changes his plan every week, but within a particular game he probably don't change as much or as often as he did against Denver because most quarterbacks don't have Manning's ability to decipher the coverages. I do think it would be dangerous to change too much on a weekly basis due to mental overload, but Belichick does like to change things up.
Paul Perillo

I was just wondering, with inconsistent/unproven runners in the backfield is there any chance Ray Rice gets an opportunity? I don't think it would have a jeopardizing effect on the locker room and would add a superstar talent with something to prove at probably a bargain of a price.
Sean Bannon

Since Robert Kraft state emphatically that the Patriots would not be interested in signing Ray Rice, I don't see that happening. I don't think bringing a guy like Rice in would be a wise move given his situation with domestic violence. The Patriots are not that far removed from the Aaron Hernandez release and the organization has worked hard to move past the stigma that went with it. The Patriots acted quickly when Hernandez was arrested and signing a guy who hit his fiancée would be a step in the wrong direction. And that it matters nearly as much but Rice is no longer the superstar talent he once was. I'll pass and take my chances with Jonas Gray and Shane Vereen.
Paul Perillo

Is there even the slightest chance that we bring in Adrian Peterson IF he gets reinstated? I know it's crazy, but if it's a possibility, they might as well just give us the ring now.
Vatsal Khakhar

First, Peterson is under contract with Minnesota so he's not a free agent even if he is reinstated. Second, I'd say the same about him as I just did with Rice. Although Peterson is still a very productive football player, I don't feel it would be wise to sign him. Again, I'll pass.
Paul Perillo

Who has Tom Brady thrown the most TD passes to in his career? I'm guessing Gronk but not sure.
Kyle Lewis

Give the man a prize! Gronkowski has caught 50 of Brady's 381 career touchdown passes, 11 more than Randy Moss' 39. After Moss come Wes Welker (36), Deion Branch (24) and Aaron Hernandez (18).
Paul Perillo

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