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Ask PFW: Draft, Law and more

Ask PFW is back to answer your questions as we do each and every week.

Hey, thanks for Ask PFW. It's greatly appreciated. Judging by the past history of Pats players going to NFLE and not returning (I'm thinking specifically of Michael Bishop, who was once ahead of Brady on the depth chart), I wonder if the coaches aren't prepping Kliff for the No. 2 spot and considering Davey for a trade? Any word on that?
Chris Warner
Bronx, N.Y.

The Patriots would not send Kliff to Europe because they want him to spend his first full offseason with the team improving his knowledge of the system and working with some of the receivers while also building his strength. Since Rohan had a full offseason with the team and does not need to spend time learning the system, it is more important for him to get some actual playing time. It's been since the end of the 2001 college football season since Davey played in a meaningful situation. I think his performance in Europe will be closely examined.

The clear benefit we get from NOT paying huge bucks to a few players, is that we can get more quality players in the second half of the roster. How many times have we all been so thrilled to see guys we've never heard of come up with the big plays when needed! Can you give us any statistics, like, average pay for the lower half of Pats roster vs. other teams in the league?
David Seidel
Newton, Conn.

The Patriots have about 20 players counting more than $1 million each against the cap. I can't answer your question because I don't have access to all the other teams salaries, but nobody had a problem with the Patriots pay scale last year when players like Matt Chatham and David Givens were stepping in to play bigger roles in place of injured guys. The Patriots way isn't the only way, but it's their way and they live and die by it.

Mike Gargano
Madison, Conn.

I don't think they'll sign a veteran right now because they have plenty of veterans. I would guess they have a decent medical opinion on Colvin's recovery and that could certainly affect how they move forward. Adding a linebacker this year, even if in the draft, would likely cost one of the incumbents his roster spot. They currently have Ted Johnson, Tedy Bruschi and Roman Phifer playing inside and Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Colvin and Tully Banta-Cain playing outside with Larry Izzo, Don Davis and Matt Chatham filling special teams roles while backing up at linebacker. Those guys are all under contract and that's a lot of roster spots on linebackers. It remains possible that a young draft pick could replace one of those veterans with hope that next year he would be ready to step in on a more full-time basis.

I'm a strong fan based in Italy since approx 20 years and it's extremely nice to see our team be at the top of the league. I still remember and I cannot forget the losses with Bears and Packers. So win 2 in 3 years was really incredible! My question is: I liked a lot the old uniforms and the Pat Patriot logo; it was a pity that last year we did not dress in them. Last time I think it was 2 seasons ago against the Lions in DET for the Thanksgiving. Is there a plan to return (also sporadically) to the old beautiful uniforms (that was the reason why I decided to pick the Patriots as my NFL team)?
Como, Italy

Buon giorno Enrico. Grazie. That's the extent of my Italian, but I do want to learn that after failing to learn Spanish in school. Anyway, You may see them wear the old uniforms from time to time, but it won't be very often. It's actually pretty costly to wear those uniforms because they require buying new jerseys, pants, socks and helmets. The silver they wore last year as a third jersey required only new jerseys. Pat Patriot lives in history and becomes more special when he only peeks out on rare occasions.

First off, great job guys! I was wondering which patriots (Player/ Coach) has the most Super Bowl experience? Not just as a patriot, but in general. And Along those lines, which person (Player / Coach) has been to the Super Bowl the most times and which person holds the most Super Bowl rings?
Marc Roy
Pennsville, N.J.

The most any player on the roster has played in is 3 – Adam Vinatieri, Ty Law, Ted Johnson, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Troy Brown. They all have won two. The coaches have more experience, though. Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel and Mike Woicik have all coached in five Super Bowls. Belichick and Crennel coached in the same 5 (1986 and 1990 Giants; 1996, 2001 and 2003 Patriots). Woicik coached in three with Dallas (1992, 1993 and 1995) and two with the Pats (2001 and 2003). Dante Scarnecchia (1985, 1996, 2001 and 2003 Patriots) and Charlie Weis (1990 Giants, 1996, 2001 and 2003 Patriots) each coached in four while Pepper Johnson played in two (1986 and 1990 Giants) and coached in two (2001 and 2003 Patriots). FYI, only Woicik and Pepper Johnson are undefeated in the big game. Woicik is 5-0, Pepper is 4-0, Belichick and Crennel are 4-1, Scarnecchia is 2-2 and Weis is 3-1.

Is Matt Russell, the former University of Colorado standout still working with the Patriots? If not where is he now?
Denver, Colo.

Yes. He is an area scout.

Hi PFW -- I'm curious where New England's 17-2 season stands all-time in terms of winning percentage (including postseason) by a Super Bowl team. It has to be on the short list of the most successful seasons in NFL history. As a fan, I really want to thank Bob Kraft and the Patriots organization for providing us with such a solid performing team. We may not have had a 1,500-yard rusher, but obviously that's no guarantee of success. Just ask San Diego.Here's to hoping the defense continues to give up so few points next season. Having a powerful running game would mean Tom Brady wouldn't have to depend on throwing dangerous outs to Troy Brown for 3 yards on 3rd down. Will Charlie Weis become more conventional with an improved running game, getting back to running at the goal line and on 3rd down like the 2001 season?

Mike Murphy
Hilton, N.Y.

Since the NFL went to a 16-game regular season schedule in 1978, the following teams went 17-2 or better and won the Super Bowl: Pittsburgh (17-2 in 1978), Chicago (18-1 in 1985), the Giants (17-2 in 1986), San Francisco (18-1 in 1984 and 17-2 in 1989), Washington (17-2 in 1991), Denver (17-2 in 1998) and the Patriots last season. As far as the offense and the play calling go, I think it was pretty good this season. It's easy to judge offensive play calling because if the draw doesn't work on third-and-three, the offensive coordinator is a buffoon, but if it goes for a 70-yard touchdown run, he's a genius. There will always be calls that make you scratch your head, but this team scored when it had to and played close to the vest when it had to.

What is the status of Antwan Harris with the Patriots? Have not read anything about him since Oct 2003.
S. Emerson
Siler City, N.C.

My hunch is that Harris, who is a free agent, has played his last game in New England. He was inactive a few times last season and was unable to step in at safety when given the chance. If he is gone, he will best be remembered for his touchdown in the 2001 AFC Championship Game and his forced fumble in Super Bowl XXXVI.

I think that the Patriots would do well to pick up a running back in the second round. They would not have to pay him as much as a first-rounder and he could share the running chores with Faulk. I know a lot of armchair coaches will disagree with this thinking, but the last three Super Bowl Champions have won without a big money, big-name back. Let The lonely fan from Cali know that he is not really alone. There are true Patriots fans in Monterey.
Ian Hutchinson
Monterey, Calif.

I wouldn't rule that out. The Patriots are unpredictable in the draft and I could see them trading up for a runner or taking one in the second round and using the first two picks on defense.

I don't want to jinx my team, but I've been many games would the Pats need to win this fall to break an NFL record for consecutive victories over multiple seasons?
Bedford, N.H.

Hey, I have relatives in Bedford. Nice town. Do you know … ah forget it. OK, the record is for regular season wins only and belongs to the 1933-34 Bears, who won 17 straight. The 1941-42 Bears won 16 straight as did the 1971-1973 Dolphins and the 1983-84 Dolphins. The 1960-61 Chargers and 1989-1990 49ers won 15 straight. The Patriots would need to win their first six games in 2004 to break the record. The Patriots 12 consecutive wins in a single season is tied for third all-time and the 12 wins to end the season also is third all-time.

Greetings from a huge Pats fan from north of the border. My question actually relates to a game the Patriots played in Canada. It was called the American Bowl and it was a preseason game played in Montreal in the early 1990's against Pittsburgh. My dad took me to the game and I was quite young at the time. I was wondering if you could give me the score and who started at QB, RB and WRs for the pats. One more question, I remember a preseason game in Mexico a couple of years ago but does the NFL still take some of their games abroad? Thanks, KUTGW!
Tom Hartmann

Yes. The league still plays preseason games abroad. Those games have been in Mexico as you mention, but also in Japan and I believe even in Ireland. The Patriots actually played in Toronto in 1993, but the game to which you refer was August 9, 1990 and the Patriots lost to Pittsburgh, 30-14. Steve Grogan started at quarterback, John Stephens started at running back and Irving Fryar and Hart Lee Dykes were the starting wide receivers.

Is there any news on David Given's contract status. I know that right after the Super Bowl there was talk of trying to get a long-term deal done. Is this something we could see happen before training camp or was it just the result of the great string of games he put together at the end of last season.
Adam Coppinger
Derry, N.H.

Hey, I have relatives from Derry … oh been there done that. Givens is an exclusive rights free agent, and the only player I can remember receiving a contract extension heading into his exclusive rights year is Tom Brady. So chances are that Givens will play for the third-year minimum ($380,000) this year and be a restricted free agent next year. There is a chance that something gets done after the draft when the Patriots and Givens agent, Brad Blank, will probably have a chat about that contract, but I'll be mildly surprised if an extension is agreed upon.

If the Patriots release Ty Law after June 1, his '04 cap number goes from $9.85M to $2.7M (with another $2.7M in '05),opening up significant cap room to sign draft picks & free agents. Question 1 - if Ty is traded after June 1, do the same cap rules apply? Question 2 - do you think any teams would find an All Pro corner with a $7.15M cap number attractive?
Tom Roberts
Acton, Mass.

OK my cap guru, the answer to question one is no. If the player is traded, the unamortized bonus money accelerates to the current year in full unlike when a player is released after June 1. Secondly, I think teams would be interested in Law even with his $7-plus million cap number for 2004, which takes into account, as you obviously know, but some of the other readers may not, that the new team would not be responsible for any of the bonus money in terms of the cap hit. His salary is essentially the franchise number for corners and I think a team would pay that to Law for next year, but any team that traded for him would then try to work out an extension that alleviates that cap ' 04 hit

Why do the Patriots constantly keep signing defensive players? Are they really happy with what they have on offense? Also, here's a good one, when is the last time the patriots went out and signed an offensive free agent? JJ Stokes, doesn't count.
Donovan Altman
Huntington Beach, Calif.

Offensive skill players are typically among the most expensive free agents, and defense wins championships. On the Patriots current offense, the most recent significant offensive free agent would probably be Christian Fauria in 2002. But they signed Fred McCrary, Mike Cloud and Larry Centers last year, players like Damon Huard, Antowain Smith, David Patten and Mike Compton in 2001 and Joe Andruzzi in 2000. Sorry that doesn't get you excited. In that same time, they've drafted Tom Brady, Matt Light, Daniel Graham, Deion Branch, David Givens and Bethel Johnson. So it's not like they have completely neglected the offense.

Why am I the only one who seems to be worried about the OFFENSIVE line? Every says 'they did good last year so why won't they do good next year?' I know why, last year they had the depth to prevail from injuries. They have nothing now, someone gets hurt and the team is done. It doesn't matter who you draft to run the ball if they have no one blocking for them. I am not clueless to the fact they will bring someone else in, but if they wait longer all the good talent will be gone.
Davenport, Fla.

How the heck do you know that you are the only one? Are you a woe-is-me kind of guy? You have a right to be concerned right now, but don't worry unless the team goes to camp without making any improvements. Your tackles as we speak are last year's starters Matt Light and Tom Ashworth with Brandon Gorin backing up and Adrian Klemm still trying to find a spot. Inside, the guards are Russ Hochstein, Joe Andruzzi, Wilbert Brown and Stephen Neal while Dan Koppen is the center. There are other inexperienced offensive linemen on the roster, but the team could use a veteran interior lineman to compete for a job and should probably draft another young lineman on day one of the draft.

Is there any chance the Pats will wear all Blue uniforms for home games? They looked incredible that brief time they wore them. I think they should eliminate the Silver pants altogether.
Methuen, Mass.

Hey great spelling of your name. Andy "Arrogant" Hart makes fun of me for spelling it that way -- like I had any say in the matter. Also, he doesn't spell his name A-N-D-I so I don't know what his deal is, but I digress. The Patriots went 0-2 in those uniforms and tucked them away. I don't think you'll see blue on blue for a while.

Listened to your radio show, and you were speculating about possible trades and what they might do with their two no. 1s. How about trading one of them to Buffalo, for Travis Henry, remember just one. Also what round was Ted Washington drafted in? Thanks
Bob Sulik
Berline, Conn.

I don't know if I would trade a No. 1 for Henry. He fumbles too much, although I'd give up a two for him despite his slippery fingers. Ted Washington was a first round pick.

I like to think myself as a Patriots fan but I've been out of the loop the last 3 to 4 yrs. I'm stationed in Hawaii and it's hard to get news about the Pats. My question is whatever happened to Chris Slade? I know he was traded to the Panthers but he's not on the roster there. Did he retire?
Cassidy Loiselle
New Haven, Conn.

Chris is retired and living in Alpharetta, Ga.

Sorry, some more commentary on Ty Law. Being both a Bronco fan and a Patriots fan, I would ask for anyone who saw last season's Colt's playoff games against Denver and New England to look at how against the hapless Bronco defense, Manning went wild, passing at will, amassing a nearly perfect quarterback rating. Humiliating! Now, look at the Patriots game. Look at the difference Ty Law made: Please do not let him go! Unless you want to stop winning Super Bowls.
Jim Gewalt
Denver, Colo.

Jim, I agree, but you just can't keep guys at all cost. That said, I think the Patriots would like to keep Ty. It's Ty that doesn't want to keep the Patriots.

Which RB (Jackson or Jones) do you think offers the most breakaway game speed? Since Curtis Martin left we have not had a RB who's been a threat to break that long (40, 50, 60 yard) TD run.Also, do you think we'll pick two RBs in the draft, say one in RD 1, and another in RDs 3-5. Drafting is not an exact science and there is no guarantee the higher rated RB will succeed at the next (NFL) level....if I remember correctly, Curtis Martin was a third round pick.

Andrew Chea
Nassau, Bahamas

I think Jones has better breakaway speed and I think they could draft more than one runner if there is a good value pick available in the third round. Kevin Faulk is the only runner on the roster so don't rule anything out.

All right let me cut to the point, the Pats need to draft a running back, and to me, if he's available, Greg Jones would be the perfect fit. The man is a monster (refer to the play he made in the UNC game). Just ask your boy Davey. I read his diary, he knows what's up. His hard running is perfect for the cold, and he had a great combine. What are your thoughts PFW?
Rauni Martin
Holiday, Fla.

I talked to a couple people at the Combine who were impressed with Jones physique, but there are concerns about his recovery from his knee injury. He is a beast and would certainly seem to be the between-the-tackles runner the Patriots need if his knee is recovered. As far as the weather goes, I don't believe any of the college backs are truly tested in the cold. The last game they play in cold weather is in November when it's not that cold for the most part. Then they go play their bowl games in warm-ville. Being a hard-nosed runner doesn't make him better suited for cold weather when ball handling becomes an issue. It may help him because he relies less on cutting ability, but fumbling is probably the biggest cold weather issue to worry about.

Hey the information you provide every week. Two questions...Any idea when the Patriots will be visiting the White House? And, has the ring ceremony/dinner been scheduled as of yet?Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Sandwich, Mass.

The Patriots will go to the White House on May 10 and the ring ceremony will likely be in June as it was two years ago.

Why are you guys negative about the team? Too many times your news articles put a negative spin on the news... we're the fans and we should get a good vibe from reading the news on the team's "official" site. If I wanted a controversial viewpoint, I would listen to WEEI, not read the team website.
John Clarke
Methuen, Mass.

I don't agree with your assessment of our coverage. I don't think we try to put any spin on the news, never mind a negative spin. We just report the news and events. Andy Hart handles most of the online updates and does a good job. If you disagree with any editorializing he may have done on a particular story, fire off an email referencing the story and I'm sure you can get his explanation. After all, we are here to serve you and take your opinions and/or complaints quite seriously and we ALWAYS welcome your feedback, which is one of the reasons we created this forum.

Now I hate when people write in asking what the Pats are gonna do in the draft, but I thought of an idea and was wondering what your opinion is. Most draft "experts" have the Pats either trading up to grab Kevin Jones/Steven Jackson or grabbing Perry and a LB in the first round. I understand the need for a RB, but besides Jones and Jackson I really don't like what I see this year in the draft. My thought is trade up and pick Randy Starks or Vince Wilfork to replace Washington, which is obviously a more glaring hole on our team. We could always re-sign Antowain for another season and/or pick up Julius Jones in a later round. And about the issue of getting younger at LB, why not go after Zeke Moreno of San Diego? The Chargers tendered him at a 5th round compensation, and you won't find a LB like him in the 5th round this year. It also avoids any Katzenmoyer-like fears the Pats might have about a LB. I was just wondering what you think of this idea, see if you agree or can find some holes in it, either way I'd love to see your response. Thanks.
Jay Corbeille
Woonsocket, R.I.

I might take Perry at 32, but I don't think I would take him at 21. If Jackson and Jones are gone by 21, there is a good chance Dallas could take Perry or Greg Jones at 22 and the Patriots may be left with the fourth or fifth best running back. I'm not sure those lineman are worth trading up for unless it's just a few spots. I could see going from 21 to 17 or so if Starks is available, but to move into the top 10? I'm not sure I'd like to pay the price to do that unless those guys are of Richard Seymour's ability, which I don't believe they are. I don't think Julius Jones is a Patriots-type of player and agree that Antowain could be re-signed.
As far as a linebacker goes, the Patriots would have to put a deal together for Moreno that San Diego wouldn't match. I also don't know how he would fit into a 3-4 system because I'm not overly familiar with him. But money is a factor. They just paid Rodney Bailey $1.3 million and gave up a sixth round pick in the process. He's likely better than what any sixth round pick would be (Don't start emailing me telling me Tom Brady and Terrell Davis were sixth rounders because that is not the norm), but he also cost $1.3 against the cap this season as opposed to a sixth round pick that would get about $50,000 up front with a $230,000 salary and a cap number in the vicinity of $247,000. If they thought Moreno could come in and vie for a starting job, then it might be worth pursuing, but your comparison to Big Kat doesn't hold water because the guy suffered a neck injury that ended his career. That could happen with any player, including Moreno.

I look forward to PFW every week, thanks for keeping my Patriot's addiction going through the offseason. I know it's hard, but can you explain how the cap works? How player's salaries go towards the cap, how it gets spread through the years, and how the cap works with respect to signing bonuses and how they get spread through the years of a contract? One last question how does the whole "franchise player" thing work?I know this is a lot to ask but I really don't understand it and don't know where to read about it. Please help!!!!


I can't believe I'm going to do this again, but I will give you the most basic example of how the cap works. NFL contracts typically are not guaranteed except for the signing bonus, which is why that takes on so much importance for the player. Not only does he get that money up front, but it's also the only money he is guaranteed to receive. So let's say I'm Charles Woodson and the Raiders don't put the Franchise tag on me (which I will explain later). The Broncos decide to offer me a contract for five years with a $20 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $3 million, $4 million, $5 million, $6 million and $7 million. My salary counts against the salary cap as it reads for each particular year, but the signing bonus is prorated over the life of the deal, which means even though it is paid up front, it is divided by the number of years in the contract and then spread out equally in terms of its cap ramifications. So, in year one, my cap number would be $7 million ($20 million divided by 5 ($4 million) plus my $3 million salary). In year, two it would be $8 million and so on. Now there are other factors like roster bonuses, workout bonuses and incentives that factor in as well. A roster bonus is paid out on a contractually specified date if the player is still on the roster while a workout bonus is paid when the required number of offseason workouts is reached. I won't get into all the minute parts of what can count because it will confuse you.
When a player is Franchised, he is paid the average of the top five highest cap numbers at his position from the previous season or receives a 20 percent raise over his previous season, whichever is greater. If the Franchised player receives an offer from another team and the current team decides not to match the offer, then it receives two first round picks as compensation, which is why Franchise players seldom change teams unless they are traded.

Everyone has their undies in a bunch over obtaining a running back in the draft. I can't argue that a solid 1,200yds a season back would be a tremendous boost to our offense, but defense, and a well rounded offense has brought the trophy to Foxboro 2 of the past 3 years. We are thin at safety, I say trade up in the draft to grab Sean Taylor. aka "the next Ronnie Lott" Whadaya think?
Nantucket, Mass.

You ever see Bill Belichick over there? Anyway, it depends on where Taylor is. I don't think I go to the top five to get him because I don't want to pay a safety top five draft pick money along with the price it will take to move up that high. After that, I would consider it if the drop-off in running back talent is minimal from the top two guys to the next two.

When does the clock stop after a field goal is kicked?In our two Super Bowl wins both kicks were taken with 8 or 9 seconds remaining. Against St Louis the clock expired, against Carolina there were four seconds left. Please enlighten me.

Desmond Lee
Melrose, Mass.

Prepare to be enlightened. There were 7 seconds left when Adam Vinatieri prepared to hit the 48-yard game-winner in Super Bowl XXXVI and the clock expired even though the ball sailed through with time on the clock. That prompted a rule change that said no more than 5 seconds can tick off during a field goal. So when Vinatieri lined up to kick the game winner with 9 seconds left in Super Bowl XXXVIII, only 5 seconds were allowed to tick off.

Why didn't the Patriots get any compensatory draft picks for the loss of Ted Washington and Damien Woody? I may not fully understand how it works but don't teams get compensatory picks for losing good players and not signing new ones? keep up the good work guys.
Stow, Mass.

There is a formula at work where teams get compensatory picks for the cumulative loss of free agents, but the Patriots would not receive compensation for the Woody and Washington losses until next year.

Here is the buy the saw...Super Bowl 39 will be the BIGGEST Tuna Bowl of all time Belichick vs. Parcell, with the Pats easily reeling in their third of what will be five SB's in ten years. So it is written, so it be done!
James. M. Mitchell
Woolrich, Maine

Consider yourself on the record sir.

Apparently, running back seems to be the priority for the Patriots in the upcoming NFL Draft. Both Jones and Jackson appear to be excellent prospects, however it seems presumptive to assume that either of these two guys will be available at the 21st pick. How likely is it that the Pats will have to trade up? Also, is it a complete certainty that Belichick will use his first pick on a back? Nose tackle seems to be a much harder position to fill, and Vince Wilfork seems to be a once in a lifetime type of player and an especially good fit for the Pats in terms of the 3-4 scheme and personal character. Is there any possibility that they may try to trade up to get my man, or, in my most idealistic vision of the universe, acquire both Wilfork and either Jackson or Jones?
Milton, Mass.

That is pretty idealistic. I think Wilfork will go high enough that New England would have to fork over its two ones to get him, which would then make it impossible for them to get either Jackson or Jones without trading up into the first round again. But they may not take a running back in the first round. If Greg Jones and Chris Perry are rated close to Kevin Jones and Jackson, I could see the Patriots holding off to 32 to take a back or even 56, although the latter is doubtful. But there certainly is a chance that neither Kevin Jones nor Jackson are available at 21.

Hi Guys, up here in the Patriots nation north, I am reading various mock drafts that have Steven Jackson falling to us at 21st overall pick.But a few of these drafts have us passing on Jackson because he has the same agent as Ty Law and Milloy.Is this a real possibility, or will the fact that Jackson is the best all round back in this draft be too tempting.Thanks, and keep up the great work, the great white north loves you guys.

Craig McRobbie

If Jackson is available at 21, I assume the Patriots will pick him. His agent is not Carl Poston. He has not officially selected one, but word is that his agent is Rocky Arceneaux.

I was wondering why PFW in progress was trying stick up for Ty Law??? They were trying to make a point about when the crybaby got in trouble w/ drugs that the almighty Pats shouldn't have tried to take away his 14 million dollar signing bonus!!! I fell off my chair, do you want that kind of person as a role model??? If I'm the Pats you bet your bottom dollar I'm going to try to make an example of a troublemaker who takes drugs. If I got caught w/"E" I would have been in jail!!! Never mind losing a signing bonus!!! It's time to dump the "cry baby!"
Jeff Donovan
Wilmington, Mass

OK Jeff, we weren't criticizing the Patriots for trying to take the bonus, we were saying that if we were Ty Law, we would be angry about that. I don't look at these guys as role models so what they do off the field is none of my business as long as they are not bad people. I don't think Ty Law is a bad person and that is the only incident he has been involved in since arriving here in 1995. Even if you assume guilt, which I don't, it's not like he beat up someone. He didn't get arrested because the quantity in his possession was too small. Ty's been pretty clean with the exception of that one blip. Call me forgiving I guess.

I just finished watching the new Pats DVD. It's pretty sweet, especially with the "World Broadcast" of Super Bowl 38. Anyway, the last drive of the game got me thinking about the last drive of Super Bowl 36. As we all know, they were almost identical. My question is this: is there a reason why Tom Brady decided to call timeout with 7 seconds left in SB 36, and then again call timeout with 10 seconds left in SB 38? There really was 2 seconds left in SB 36 but was never played. And in SB 38 the Pats had to kick off after Adam's field goal. Why risk giving up a kickoff return? If you call timeout with 3 seconds left and Vinatieri misses (yeah right) you go into overtime anyway...?
Westwood, Mass.

Your question is valid as I thought the same thing, particularly this year, but he called timeout with 9 seconds left and it was first down. So if there was a bad snap, Ken Walter potentially would have had a chance to get up and throw the ball away and still leave the Patriots with time to kick the field goal after stopping the clock with an incomplete pass. Remember, Lonie Paxton was out and Brian Kinchen hadn't exactly been on the money with all his snaps. In Super Bowl XXXVI, he didn't call timeout. He ran to the line and when everybody was set, he hiked the ball and spiked it to stop the clock. My guess is that he just wanted to make sure he got the clock stopped in that situation since the team was out of timeouts.

First of all, long time reader, first time asker. Do you have any information about any former Patriots getting their number retired this season? Any ideas on who the next might be? Also I feel strongly that after Drew Bledsoe hangs up his cleats, number 11 should be immortalized in Patriot lore. What do you think?
Yankton, S.D.

I don't know of any plans to retire a number or induct anyone into the team's Hall of Fame. I do think that when Drew Bledsoe retires, he deserves to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, although I think they're trying limit the amount of retired numbers because with the amount of players NFL teams carry, they could run out if they retired too many.

Even though we have Ty Law under contract I find it hard to believe that he will be a Patriot next year. I think Ty Law, at this point, is trade bait. This is what I think will go down. Law goes to the Bengals in exchange for Corey Dillon. Marvin Lewis, a defensive guy, would love to attain Law and they have the cash to sign him. We get Dillon who will make the Pats O almost unstoppable. A win-win situation on both sides.
Adam Hargraves
Northampton, Mass.

I just don't see the Patriots trading for Dillon, but I can definitely see Law being traded, which of course, doesn't rule out your scenario. I wonder if Dillon would fit here in a system where he might get a ton of touches one week and virtually none the next because the Patriots are such a game plan-oriented team. Might he grumble under those circumstances? Is that a chance you want to take? Why not keep your best cornerback and let him play for a contract this year?

After the patriots score a touchdown and there about to kick it off to the opposing team, what is that song that's played?
South Boston, Mass.

Machinehead by Bush

Well I'm only 13 but I think Ty Law is really good and he should get a little respect because he is the best cornerback in the NFL and anyways he won the Super Bowl my question is. If he leaves the Patriots what team is going to go to.. PLEASE RESPOND.
Nikeel Sharma
Rohnert Park, Calif.

OK. I'm only 32 and I think Ty Law is really good and he should get a little respect too. But if he leaves now, the Patriots would either move Asante Samuel into the lineup at corner or move Eugene Wilson back to corner and sign or draft a safety to take Wilson's spot. It would be an obvious loss and one the Patriots would feel since no other player in the Patriots secondary has Law's skills. But he'll leave someday and you have to move on whether that's now or in two years or in four years. The Patriots could certainly draft a corner to help the depth, but losing Law would be painful. There is no denying that.

Do you think the Patriots would move Richard Seymour back to interior lineman and take newly acquired Rodney Bailey at the end position?
Woonsocket, R.I.

No. If the Patriots stay in a 3-4 as they presumably will, Seymour will stay at end. Bailey will also play end as will Jarvis Green and Ty Warren, although Warren could play some nose. Right now, the Patriots lack a true nose tackle and as it was last year at this time, it's a need. Seymour would only be moved inside out of necessity after all else fails.

I would just like to know what Bill is thinking. He has one of the best defensive backs in the league and is treating him like he didn't do anything this season. The only question that I have if the Patriots happen to let Ty Law go, who in the heck is going to cover Marvin Harrison? He is one of the best wide receivers in the game and only 1 DB can cover him.
Gary Gilbert
Ft. McPherson, Ga.

Why are the Patriots treating him like he didn't do anything? He's going to be paid more than $7 million next season and will have the highest salary cap number at his position among players not tagged as Franchise players. That's pretty good money if you ask me. If he is not here, I can see the Patriots having trouble with Marvin Harrison just as they have many times since Law has been a Patriot. Now, Ty doesn't always cover Harrison exclusively man-to-man and may not when the teams meet up in the season opener. But don't say Ty has been disrespected because of his salary. I think the Patriots offer was probably a little low, but it was their first offer and certainly seems like something that could be worked on. Instead it became a public "insult" to Ty, which along with a more ridiculous counter-offer, led the Patriots to ending negotiations and Bill Belichick being tabbed a liar.

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