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Patriots Replay Fri May 29 | 12:00 AM - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: David Harris addition and more

I was a big fan of Jimmy Garoppolo, but I am disappointed with the very early reports on how he performed during mini-camp and OTAs. And not only based on his meaningless practice stats but also by his attitude and to some degree fragility. Brady, going on 40, seems like a more motivated player than J.G. 14 years younger and with a bright future projected as a franchise QB if not here then somewhere. I wonder if it is partly based on his low pay from a rookie contract? Clearly, we have to see more of him during preseason and I expect him to step up or I would rather have an aging Brady at the helm until he retires.
Jason Kivalchik

I'm not really sure where your disappointment originated in terms of Garoppolo's play. Nothing that happens on the field during OTAs and mini-camp represents anything close to actual football, so with regard to his performance I'm not sure why anyone would be upset. There is and always has been a clear difference when watching Brady run the offense as opposed to Garoppolo or anyone else. There should be a huge difference considering the vast difference in experience. As for his fragility, I'm sure a lot of people will make a big deal out of the fact that he was forced to miss some reps due to some sort of minor ailment but unless it keeps him off the field during training camp and the preseason I'm not going to worry about it. Garoppolo is a solid backup quarterback and that's all the Patriots need him to be at this point. What happens down the road remains to be seen, but nothing that happened during the spring is going to impact Garoppolo moving forward.
Paul Perillo

I like linebacker David Harris signing, which adds to that group except in speed which is still my biggest question mark dealing with speedy pass-catching RBs which the Patriots will see including Le'Veon Bell and Tevin Coleman. They were injured during the last playoffs but when healthy, who has the speed to contain them?
Stan C.

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I would expand your question to include the entire league. As in, what linebackers around the league have the speed to contain speedy pass catching running backs out of the backfield on a consistent basis? Not many, which is one reason why those guys are so effective. I love the Harris signing but you are correct in citing his lack of overall speed. He won't be asked to cover those guys in space too much but he can still be a valuable linebacker capable of playing a large percentage of snaps. He adds a lot of talent to an otherwise thin group. He just won't be asked to track a lot of fast running backs in man coverage.
Paul Perillo

Are there any plans to replace the existing training camp aluminum bleachers with bigger ones or add on to the existing structure? The team has had the same seating for the last 10-plus years and the event is much more popular than it used to be. I used to love going to training camp but don't anymore because it is so overcrowded.
Chris Noble

That's too bad Chris because training camp in Foxborough is one of the best values in sports. Where else are you able to get such an up-close-and-personal look at the Patriots for free? The bleachers will remain the same as there really isn't a tremendous amount of space to add on, although I will voice your comments to the powers that be and I'm sure they will look into doing something as a result. The grassy hills offer an even better look at things if you feel the bleachers are too crowded, but regardless of where you sit the training camp practice setting can't be beat.
Paul Perillo

Why doesn't the draft finish in the fourth round? Players drafted in the 5-7 rounds almost never make the cuts or stay for too long (Brady is an exception). This way, players could choose which team they think they have more chances and some players would even receive more.
Gregorio Ledeira

I think four rounds wouldn't be enough. Teams need to have an opportunity to select players without having to worry about competing with other teams for their services. Teams like the Patriots and Seahawks, who have been successful and have used a lot of undrafted rookies would have the inside track for a lot of these players. Seven rounds seems like a good number, giving each team the chance to draft enough players and at the same time not tying all of the players to one specific team. There is definitely an argument to be made that going undrafted might be more beneficial for an individual than going in the seventh round, but it's still an honor to be selected.
Paul Perillo

I see a 12-4 season this coming year. Most likely possible losses being among the following -- at Miami, at Pittsburgh, Atlanta, at Tampa Bay, at Denver and Oakland at Mexico City. A four-loss season would still be a triumph and roll the Patriots into the postseason. What are your thoughts?
Dwight Lee

Call me a homer but I think you're being a bit conservative. I see 12-4 being the absolute worst-case scenario to be honest. I agree that at Pittsburgh and Miami plus the Oakland game would be the most difficult challenges. I don't view Atlanta at home as being all that difficult. At Denver is a tough venue but unless the Broncos get a quarterback I see a repeat of last year when Denver's defense kept the team in the game for 60 minutes but ultimately the Broncos don't have enough. At Tampa Bay is a wild card to me because it's on a Thursday night, and road team often struggle on Thursday nights. So I see four relatively tough games – at Pittsburgh, at Miami, at Tampa Bay and Oakland in Mexico. I say the Patriots split those four and wind up 14-2.
Paul Perillo

We didn't go to high school together. I don't think you should call my concerns ridiculous - mistaken, yes. I like disagreement. I don't agree with you that fans have no influence on a team. New England is great, because it has great coaching; not because of its roster. We should add something to the OL, something very good in terms of talent and at the deep safety position. Always, thank you.
Folger McFadden

I'm not sure exactly what caused this post but I would say overall that the Patriots greatest strength is coaching and not necessarily talent. This season it would seem New England is blessed with both, but again I'd agree that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are the key factors. I also agree the interior of the offensive line could use some depth. I remember how close the Patriots came to losing in the playoffs last year due to pressure up the middle so I'd like to improve that area. I'm not too worried about Devin McCourty at the deep safety spot, however. McCourty is a solid player and leader, and Duron Harmon is a capable backup at that spot as well. Overall, it's a pretty deep and talented team.
Paul Perillo

It always seems as though some of the other teams good QBs always have more time with the ball than the GOAT, TB12. Am I the only one who sees this in almost every game? Is it that the Patriots have just been average offensive line blockers for Tom Brady or is it that we need better defensive ends that get to the QB? I have been wondering this for a few years now!
Tandy Laster

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Actually I don't see things this way at all. The Patriots have occasional problems protecting Brady but more often than not he has plenty of time to throw. He's obviously aided but the fact that the Patriots have a quick, timing passing attack which always Brady to get rid of the ball quickly. There are times – like Houston and Atlanta in last year's playoffs – when protection has been an issue. Things can always improve. But even in the Atlanta game when Brady was under constant attack, Matt Ryan was dealing with the same thing from the Patriots front. So I think you're probably just focused on the Patriots more so than the other team – which we are all guilty of. The protection could improve and the pass rush will need to be more consistent.
Paul Perillo

Patriots fan all the way here from Australia. How do you think the impact of signing David Harris will help the front seven, which has been described as an area of weakness on the team? Now I remember a few years ago BB waxing lyrical about him when he was with the Jets. Is he still this sort of player and someone to take over the Jerod Mayo field general role or will he be a bit more of a bit player now given his age?
Dean Richards

Harris will be entering his 11th season so it's only natural that he would not be the same player from a physical perspective that Belichick "waxed lyrical" about in the years past. However, Harris is still very productive and will provide plenty on and off the field assuming he remains healthy. He is an excellent leader and communicator and I would expect him to fill a Mayo-like role, just as you stated. He knows the division inside and out and will give Belichick an option in the middle that could free up Dont'a Hightower to operate more on the edge as a pass rusher. Overall I love the Harris signing and I believe he will fill pretty much a full-time role on the defense.
Paul Perillo

Do you think that Joe Gibbs could've built a legit dynasty if he had constant, better than good quarterbacks similar to Brett Favre, Tom Brady, etc? I watched "America's game" and saw a lot of similarities between him and Belichick. I know he was offense and Billy the Sith Lord is more defense but he got a lot done with crap quarterbacks. Hopefully Andy could tell me how wrong I am. Hopefully this could get a conversation going (not that you guys struggle with that).
John McLaughlin

That's a tough question to answer without really having the inside knowledge of Gibbs that we all now have of Belichick and how he runs his team. Gibbs was certainly quite impressive in winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of which would be considered even close to great. I've also spoken to some players who played for him late in their careers after Gibbs returned to coaching and they weren't overly complimentary. My guess is it would have been really tough for any team to navigate its way through the NFC every year back in the 1980s regardless of quarterback. Joe Montana is considered one of the very best to ever play and he suffered more than his share of playoff defeats at that time having to go against, the Giants, the Bears, the Redskins and the others. It wouldn't have been interesting to see what Gibbs could have done with a truly great quarterback but my feeling is he would not have approached what Belichick has done over the last two decades.
Paul Perillo

I know this question is a bit out of date, but I have been asking since April and I never get an answer. Why did BB trade for New Orleans' fourth-round pick when he had to immediately forfeit it? Why not get a different asset? Obviously BB knows what he's doing, but I don't get it.
Anthony Salerno

Perhaps you missed it but I can remember answering this question in the past myself. It didn't really matter what pick they got from New Orleans because they were going to lose a fourth-round pick regardless. So if the Saints gave the Patriots a fifth-round pick, then the Patriots would have lost their highest remaining fourth-rounder anyway. So by receiving a fourth-round pick in the deal it allowed the Patriots to keep their own pick in that round, which is better than losing that pick and getting a fifth-rounder or worse from the Saints. In the end it didn't really matter because a pick was being forfeited regardless.
Paul Perillo

My question never made the cut this week. It was, are the Patriots running the old Giants defense that Tom Landry devised in the 1950s as a defensive coordinator? A yes or no (one word) email will do. I heard something about the Giants running the Green Bay offense, but I think it is the other way around as Vince Lombardi was the Giants OC when Landry was the DC, long before Lombardi ever went to Green Bay.
Ralph Colucci

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Landry is widely credited with inventing the 4-3 defense and that's what he ran with the old Giants teams in the 1950s. The Patriots took their 3-4 defense under Chuck Fairbanks in the 1970s from the old Oklahoma teams under Bud Wilkinson and Bill Parcells brought that with him to New York in the 1980s when he was the Giants head coach. There is an old story that he simply took the playbook, crossed out New England Patriots and changed it to New York Giants. Bill Belichick obviously used that system in New York and used it for years when he came to New England in 2000. Some of the principles of that defense are still used but the alignments and formations have changed over the years. There are a lot of different personnel groups and situational defenses that are used today that make some of those old formations tough to use, but football is still football and Belichick isn't afraid to adapt to just about anything.
Paul Perillo

Seeing that the Mayweather-McGregor match is set, it seems like anything can happen. What would be your expected matchup, favorite rematch and unexpected showdown be in the Super Bowl?
Arthur Harris

My expected matchup for the Super Bowl would be the Patriots against Seattle, which would also be by favorite rematch. As for totally unexpected, let's go with Tennessee against Carolina – two teams with some talent that would need a lot of improvement in a short period of time to get to the big game.
Paul Perillo

Was that the tight end from Indianapolis the Pats just acquired at the beginning of the off season and now have recently released? If so what gives with that?
Steve Leaphart

No, Dwayne Allen is still very much a member of the Patriots. He figures to work as the backup to Rob Gronkowski at tight end. Maybe you're thinking of Rob Housler, a tight end who was let go several weeks ago.
Paul Perillo

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