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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon Jul 06 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: Dealing with Dolphins aftermath

Charlie Weis was mentioned for every open NFL head coaching job. He certainly would have gotten one. Why did he go to a college program?Stephen Kepnes

I believe you're correct in assuming Charlie likely would have received an NFL job, but Notre Dame is as close to the big leagues as you can get. Weis went to Notre Dame and had to consider it his dream job. He's being paid handsomely ($2 million per year) and is at the highest profile school in the country. I believe Notre Dame is the only college job he would have passed up a chance at the pros for.
Paul Perillo

This question does not relate to the Patriots, but the NFL playoffs in general. As of right now the Baltimore Ravens would win the tiebreaker with the Denver Broncos for the final wild card spot in the AFC playoffs. ESPN cites that they win the tiebreaker based on "strength of victory." What exactly is strength of victory?Mark Damiano

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While the scenarios are changing quickly as the weeks roll by, strength of victory is a tiebreaker used by the league where a team's strength of schedule is taken into consideration. Basically the team whose opponents' winning percentage is higher would win a tiebreaker in the event that all of the preceding rules are tied or not applicable.
Paul Perillo

When is Ty Law going to come back and will he be playing before the playoffs?Phil Michaud

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All indications point toward Ty returning before the end of the regular season, perhaps even this week in New York against the Jets. Ty expressed his desire to play in at least one regular season game before the playoffs and says his rehab is going right on schedule. The timetable for his injury was 6-8 weeks and the Jets game will mark the eighth week since he broke his foot in Pittsburgh on Halloween.
Paul Perillo

"Just wait 'til Ty Law gets back" has become something of a mantra around here. We know that having him in the backfield allows Belichick to get creative elsewhere, and improves every facet of out defense. The question is, however, how effective he will be when he returns. How close to 100 percent can Ty get by the time the playoffs come around? Do you see his return having the galvanizing effect on our secondary we're all hoping for?
Jay Hammond

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That's a good question, Jay. Whenever a player misses a significant amount of time it's difficult to determine how effective he'll be once he gets back in the lineup. It looks like Ty will be ready for the next game or two so at least he should get his feet wet before the playoffs. I believe he will have that galvanizing effect on a secondary that appears to be having more trouble lately. His presence should only help Asante Samuel and Randall Gay.
Paul Perillo

As a fan that likes to keep up on every Patriots subject, I would like to see the payroll of the team. Is that something that can be offered to the media and the public's eyes? I would like to see how long we have people under contract, and also how much, exactly, we are paying certain individuals. I'm just curious, is that something we could get on this site to view?Simon Says

Simon may say he wants salary information but Bill Belichick says no. There are some unofficial websites that do a great job of keeping track of such things, but the Patriots do not officially release salary information, or even contract terms in some cases. Unfortunately, we can't help you too much with this but a quick search on the Internet should provide you with some help.
Paul Perillo

My question is a result of seeing the way the Pats D-line and Linebackers were pushed around by the Cincy O-line. I started to worry about their chances against the Jets O-line. Curtis Martin has been playing great football lately and Kevin Mawae is a Pro Bowl center who can move. My question is how do you think the Pats D will handle the Jets balanced attack and do you think they might need to tweak their scheme for the game?Derek Charbonneau

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There have been times where offensive lines have sort of pushed the Patriots around this year. Nowhere was that more evident than in Pittsburgh when the Patriots front seven was dominated throughout. Cincinnati did a nice job creating space for Rudi Johnson, especially inside the tackles. The Patriots front has been better lately even though the Bengals had some success. I'm sure the Jets will try to run the ball with Curtis having a typically solid season. Kevin Mawae is one of the best so Vince Wilfork, Keith Traylor and Ted Johnson will need to play well to stop Martin from running wild. I don't think the Patriots plan to do anything different; they just need to play well in their two-gap scheme.
Paul Perillo

How much of the voting from the fans determines who gets selected for the Pro Bowl?
Tara Rennard

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Fans votes count for one-third of the voting with players and coaches accounting for the other two-thirds.
Paul Perillo

Why is the Super Bowl always played in warm climates as of late? It never allows for the exciting factors such as snow and cold weather to play a part in the game. And why can't the Super Bowl be held in the home building of the team that deserves it like every other sport?Mike Allan

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The Super Bowl is always held in a warm weather climate or inside a dome. While snow and extreme cold can sometimes make for interesting viewing, the league doesn't want their marquee event to be dramatically affected by such intangible elements. Games in heavy snow sometimes become more about survival than football and I agree with the league's stance on this. There was some recent speculation in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that New York or Washington would be considered for a future Super Bowl, making either the first outdoor, bad weather venue for the event. But the league thought better of that and ruled against it.
Paul Perillo

Every single week I see Brady on the injury report listed as probable (shoulder) so I have three theories for this and I want to know which one is most likely true. 1. The Patriots forgot Brady was on the injured list and it's a big mistake. 2. His shoulder is not 100 percent and if he were to stretch it the wrong way during warm up he would probably have to sit out the rest of the game. 3. It is just a strategy to have the opposing team plan for a running attack when they are really going to see a passing attack.John

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No offense, John, but I believe Nos. 1 and 3 are completely false while No. 2 is partially correct. Brady's shoulder probably isn't 100 percent but it's not something he's going to injure during warm-ups. The Patriots list him on the injury report as probable because they believe he has between a 0-25 percent chance of not being able to play.
Paul Perillo

I know you have already received a ton of questions about prospective replacements for Charlie Weis, but I was wondering what you thought about Nick Saban, LSU's head coach. I have read that BB has a good relationship with him, and seeing that the Dolphins are trying to court him would lead me to believe he would be open to an NFL position. What are your thoughts?Josh Jacobs

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Well the Dolphins are obviously doing more than just courting Nick Saban because all indications in Miami are that he will be their next coach. Saban and Belichick are very close friends and they discuss football often. However, Saban was Belichick's defensive coordinator in Cleveland so I doubt he would be a good candidate to replace Charlie even if he was available.
Paul Perillo

With Tom Brady set to make his 60th consecutive start a friend and myself were talking about such streaks. He seemed to think at least 100 quarterbacks have a streak that long. I say it is probably a lot less than 50 since the top five start at 90-something with Dan Marino's streak. My question is how many quarterbacks have consecutive start streaks of 60 games or more.Rich Dacko

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First, the record for consecutive games played for a quarterback belongs to Brett Favre with 203 straight, not Dan Marino. You must be the only NFL fan who hasn't seen any hour-long tribute special to the Packers quarterback, who seems to be featured on virtually every NFL show these days. Favre topped Ron Jaworski's record of 116 straight a long time ago. Peyton Manning also has a significant streak going with 110 straight. Aaron Brooks of New Orleans and Trent Green of Kansas City are two other active quarterbacks who currently have streaks of more than 60 going. Drew Bledsoe started 63 straight at one point for the Patriots from 1995-98. That's seven just off the top of my head. As for how many quarterbacks there are in history that have played in at least 60 in a row … that's tough to determine. But based on the amount of active streaks that long, my guess would be your friend is probably closer to being right than you are. Unfortunately I could not find a listing for every quarterback who has ever started 60 consecutive games.
Paul Perillo

With the recent emergence of players such as Branch, Givens and Graham, it seems like Troy Brown is much less of a focal point in the receiving game this year. Considering his strong play at cornerback despite his lack of experience, do you think there has been any thought of moving him there permanently next year? His success at that position makes you wonder how good he could be with a full-time commitment and an offseason of preparation.Shawn
Ottawa, Canada

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Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here Shawn. Troy has done a great job of filling in as a cornerback but I don't think he's ready for full-time duty back there. Fans focus on his three interceptions but evidently people have overlooked how many passes are being completed in his area. Belichick is playing Troy in the secondary out of necessity; not by choice. If Troy remains with the Patriots in the future it will be as a receiver first.
Paul Perillo

How long is Corey Dillon's contract for, and when it is over do you really see Cobbs as the future back? We all saw Cobbs come in on that Browns game and he looked like a college freshman. I love Corey and I think he has done fantastic, but he is getting old.Anthony Douillard

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Wow Anthony, no love for Cedric The Entertainer, huh. Corey has another year remaining on his contract and should be back in 2005. I agree that Cobbs looked a bit tentative against the Browns but it was his first extensive action as a pro, and don't forget he missed all of training camp and the preseason with an injury. The jury is still out on whether he can fill Dillon's shoes some day, but the Patriots shouldn't need to find that out until 2006.
Paul Perillo

One of the most amazing things about the team's success last year was the way they masked their absence of a strong running game with short screen passes into the Flat (often to Kevin Faulk). Belichick would often remind us that these were less "pass" plays than they were quick start "run" plays. I know that these plays are no longer as necessary with the addition of Corey Dillon. Nonetheless, I am disappointed that they have been reduced to the extent that they have. Firstly, one of the greatest strengths of our underestimated offensive line is their ability to pull and run block in the open field. Secondly, when Graham is in, we have exceptional outside blocking from the TE position. Thirdly, when Dillon gets a full head of steam going he is like a battering ram. And finally, I think those plays used to help get Brady into a nice rhythm. I really enjoy the variety and relative unpredictability of Weis' play calling but wouldn't you like to see more screen passes mixed back in?David Gladstone

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I think you make all good points when talking about the short passing the game the Patriots have employed in the past. But if you're asking me if I'd like to see more of it I'd say the answer is no. The Patriots offense has been very dangerous this season and the main reason is Dillon's running has set up Brady for some big plays downfield. The screens were fine because that's what those teams had to do to move the ball. This team doesn't need to trick the opponent as much because Dillon has given it a whole new dimension.
Paul Perillo

What happened to Daniel Graham after the fifth game or so? He still on the field, but he never seems to run routes or get the ball in the red zone, which seems strange after opening the season with five TDs in as many games. Is he stuck blocking because of a banged up offensive line or did Weis and Brady somehow lose confidence in him? Same question for Givens. Why did a receiver with his talent and work ethic fall off the radar when Deion Branch returned, especially after he proved he was a very capable No.1 receiver?Peter Ippolito

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In Graham's case I think you answered your own question. I think he's been blocking more since the injuries started to affect the offensive line and he hasn't been asked to do as much in the passing game. He did come back Monday night with another touchdown catch, but teams also have been more aware of his presence in the red zone and are covering him better than they were earlier in the season. As for Givens, I have no idea. I think he is the team's best all-around receiver when taking route-running, pass catching, blocking and running after the catch into consideration. He's been an afterthought the last several games and was inactive for one with an ankle injury. Perhaps that injury has affected him greatly and taken him out of the passing game. I don't have a definitive answer for that.
Paul Perillo

I am a diehard Patriot fan from Pittsburgh and have been diehard since 1984. I want to know what do you think about all the hype of Pittsburgh beating New England without Corey Dillon and Ty Law the whole game. Do you think if they meet in the playoffs with Ty and Corey playing that it will be a different story, I think so and I guarantee that Big Ben will have his streak ended, tell me how you feel PFW.William Griffin

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I think Pittsburgh will be a very tough test if the Patriots meet them in the playoffs. I don't think there was anything fluky about the way the Steelers dominated the game when they first met, and Pittsburgh had several injuries of their own that day, including three key starters on defense (Casey Hampton, Kendrell Bell and Chad Scott). New England isn't the only team with injury problems. It's how you deal with those problems that determines how successful you will be. Both teams have done a great job this year overcoming the adversity they've faced and Pittsburgh-New England in the AFC Championship should be a great game.
Paul Perillo

Here's a question from a huge Pats fan located in JETS country. When visiting Foxborough, where does the visiting team usually stay? (Don't need to know the hotel name, of course) Providence? Boston? Foxboro? Do they typically arrive the day before a Sunday game or generally a few days before? If practicing a day or two before the game, do they work out at a Patriot facility under the watchful eye of their opponents? Or somewhere else... This part of the home game is never fully divulged to fans. I just assumed it was for team security reasons. Just wondering.Roger G
Manhattan

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Different teams stay in different places. Many stay in Providence while some have stayed in Dedham as well. But 99 percent of visiting teams arrive the day before the game. On the rare occasions a team would travel early (the Patriots have done this three times during my six years with the team – San Diego and Miami in 2002 and Arizona this year) they would not practice at the home team's facility but rather at some nearby college.
Paul Perillo

Do players on injured reserve count against the 53-man roster? Also if a player is on IR does his salary still count against the cap?Kevin Zeke

No and yes. Once a player is placed on injured reserve he's removed from the roster and is ineligible to return that season. But his salary still counts toward the cap.
Paul Perillo

Is the Weis/Belichick relationship as strong as that of Nick Saban, a former assistant coach, and BB? Saban did recommend one of his second string defensive backs to BB – a guy called Randall Gay – and I'm sure other sleepers in the LSU program as well as those he's played against making him somewhat of a super-scout for the Patriots. The fact that Saban has the ear of the coach of the Super Bowl champion is, I'm sure, not lost on his ability to recruit top players. If Weis can prove his relationship with BB is equally as strong, don't you think he'll also be able to use that as leverage in recruiting?Otis Hill
Boston

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I do believe Charlie will have an advantage in recruiting with all the success he's been a part of in New England. How that plays out remains to be seen. Saban certainly has been a help to Belichick in the recent past, although that appears to be coming to an end as he looks like he's set to take the Miami job. The difference is Saban has been immersed in the college game for 10 years while Weis will be trying to get his feet wet after a career in the pros. So I'm not sure how much Charlie would be able to help the Patriots in this regard, at least at first.
Paul Perillo

How is Guss Scott recovering from his injury? Do you see him playing a large role in the Patriots secondary next year?Ryan

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We haven't seen or heard too much from Scott since he went on IR during the summer. He's been an occasional fixture in the locker room but not too often. I would assume he'll be back next season (although he did sign only a one-year rookie deal) and should be in the mix for a prominent role in the secondary. I think he showed promise this summer before he got hurt and most definitely would have gotten time over some of the players the Patriots have used with all the injuries they've suffered.
Paul Perillo

If Nick Saban is worth $4-$5 million per year to coach/GM the Dolphins, what the heck is Bill Belichick worth? My uneducated guess is a heck of a lot more than Saban. So, is Saban overpaid or Belichick under-paid? My answers would be "probably" and "probably." What do you guys think?Joe Hall

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I'm not sure exactly what Belichick's salary is but several reports in the Boston newspapers have indicated it to be in the $5 million range. While I do think Saban getting nearly as much puts him in the overpaid category, I believe Belichick is one of the higher paid coaches in the league and he certainly deserves to be.
Paul Perillo

Did Blue's ability to come up big for us this year influence the coaches' decision to put Tyrone Poole on IR? You guys had mentioned in the past that some of the newer folks & Troy Brown might not know much of the complex zone coverages of the Patriot system. Does the loss of Poole imply the newer members of the secondary are catching on quicker. I mean Earthwind Moreland appears to give up even more big plays than Champ Bailey (who has been burned for a bunch). Your thoughts?Christopher Herb

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Hey Herb, say hi to Peaches for me. (In case you're like Andy Hart and don't know anything that happened before 1985 – Peaches & Herb was a disco duet in the 70s). But to answer your question, I don't think the Poole decision had anything to do with Randall Gay or anyone else. I think Belichick felt Poole wasn't progressing as quickly as they would have liked and time was running out. Poole obviously wasn't able to play at less than 100 percent (he left the two games he tried to play). So Belichick opted to put him on IR and move on. Gay has played well but he certainly doesn't have the experience Poole does. As for Moreland, I don't think he's been terrible. For a guy that was found on the scrap heap, he's been average. He had a tough night in Kansas City but overall I think he's been OK.
Paul Perillo

Apparently, Notre Dame has taken the front seat in Mr. Weis' thought patterns. Even a mortgage broker such as I knows to RUN out the clock with two minutes left, especially when your running back wasn't having any trouble moving the ball. Dillon already had over 100 yards rushing. Two first downs wouldn't be much to ask at that point. So why call pass plays with so little time remaining? First order of business Tuesday morning should be to get Mr. Weis on the first flight to Notre Dame where he can concentrate on the job, which at this point obviously matters more. Belichick would be better off calling plays himself.G. Edwards

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A typical response from an overreacting member of Patriots Nation. There was 2:03 left on the clock when the Patriots got the ball leading by five. The clock was going to stop regardless of the play call because of the two-minute warning. With that in mind, Weis tried to throw a quick pass to Christian Fauria in the flat. The Miami defense was stacked up to stop the run and no one even covered Fauria. But the pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage. That was the first pass Brady has had batted down ALL SEASON. If the pass gets through, at worst Fauria picks up 7 yards, and that's assuming he was tackled immediately and since no one was there that's a pretty big assumption. I understand how well they were running the ball at the time, but running at that juncture when the team isn't playing the pass is much more difficult. Personally, I would have run the ball with Dillon on first down just like you would have. But I don't think it was a bad play call at all. And on second down, Dillon was stuffed for a yard bringing up third-and-nine. There's no way to assume Dillon would have gotten more yards on first down than he did on second. Also, Weis and the Patriots offense put 28 points on the board, which is more than they average and against Miami should have been more than enough. Unfortunately Brady made an uncharacteristic mistake and turned the ball over on the next play. I think Weis is smart enough to know that he's usually pretty safe when taking his chances with Brady making the right play. I don't think anything Weis called had anything to do with Notre Dame.
Paul Perillo

I am from the Worcester area, now in Virginia and a Pats fan all my life 62 years. Why are we throwing the ball in the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead and four minute to go?Richard Brothers

Richard, you can read my previous response with regards to throwing the football late. But I felt compelled to include your question simply because the facts were so distorted. First, the Patriots never had a 17-point lead against Miami. Their largest lead was 11 points with four minutes to go. Second, they never had the ball with that 11-point lead. After they scored to go up 28-17, Miami took the ball right down the field and scored to make it 28-23 with 2:03 left. At that point, the Patriots needed a first down to end the game. So they never threw the ball with a big lead.
Paul Perillo

It looks like the New England Patriots are running out of gas. The last time New England looked this bad was against the Steelers. It looked like the dolphins used the same game plan the Steelers used. They rushed Brady up the middle forcing him to move out of the pocket and in to the pass rush. Even if the Patriots can win their last two games, I don't think that secondary can stop the likes of a Manning or anybody like that. Do you think the end is finally here and will it end in Pittsburgh?Juan Ocasio

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You're right, the last time the Patriots looked that bad was at Pittsburgh. And what happened after Pittsburgh? They won the next six games. They would only need to win the next five to win another Super Bowl. Do the Patriots have some problems? Absolutely. Are they finished? Absolutely not. The secondary is the No. 1 concern to me, but with Ty Law getting closer to a return perhaps improvement in that department is on the horizon. Let's not push the panic button just yet people.
Paul Perillo

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