Skip to main content

Official website of the New England Patriots

Ask PFW I: First game assessments

Fans finally have a game to discuss after the Patriots preseason opener against Cincinnati. Roster breakdown and other assessments are featured in this week's Ask PFW mailbag.

For each player on the roster distributed at training camp, four stats are given. The top of the column said P/S. I assume that was "Played/Started." But then there were two other "/ /"'s with no explanation. Brady, for example, was "16/16/0/0" OK, played 16 games, started 16 games. But "0/0/"? Randall Gay: 15/9/0/1. Rohan Davey: 4/0/12/0/ Twelve WHAT?? Really looking forward to your answer, as are the two Army recruiters who came to camp as my guests.
Sheila King

Thanks for letting me get started with an easy one, Sheila. The four columns represent games played, games started (as you said), did not play and inactive. So for Davey, he appeared in four games, started none, was active but did not play in 12 and wasn't inactive for any. Randall Gay appeared in 15 games, started nine, had no games where he was active but didn't play and was inactive once. Pretty simple.
Paul Perillo

Who do you think will earn more fantasy points next year - Daniel Graham or Ben Watson? I always pick a tight end late in the draft and always seem left to choose between no-names, Graham, who does not score much given the team's offensive schemes, or a real sleeper in Watson (ranked 300th).
Jay Bains

While I certainly don't pretend to be a fantasy expert (who out there would admit to such a thing publicly?), I always thought scoring touchdowns was a key factor in fantasy play. If that's the case, Graham tied with David Patten for the team lead in touchdown catches last season with seven. They were second to Corey Dillon in scoring among positional players. I think Watson is going to be a nice weapon in the Patriots offense this year and his production could cut into Graham's. If Watson stays healthy, I'd take him over Graham for that reason. But given his shaky health in the past, that's a risk.
Paul Perillo

I remember reading some encouraging reports out of K.C. about Dick Vermeil being "very disappointed" to see Monty Beisel leave, and that he believed all of the hard work Monty has put in over the last few years to make the transition from D-Line to ILB was about to pay off. However, I haven't heard much about him in the training camp reports so far. What's going on with Monty? Is he going to make a big impact and start next to Chad Brown (as the current depth chart would indicate) or is he over-hyped and likely to make his biggest impact on special teams (as I heard from a few people when we picked him up)? Also, could the acquisitions of Monty and Chad have played any part in Ted Johnson's retirement (i.e. he saw himself getting less and less playing time and decided to hang it up.) Thanks for all of the info!
Ben Badger

What is the deal with Monty Biesel. I've been watching all the updates and reading up on daily camp happenings but there seems to be no news on what is going on with him. I know he sat out a few days with a back problem but are the injuries getting to him? Is the understanding of the playbook not up to snuff or are the rest of the linebackers just better than him? I know he has that converted DE mold Bill likes but there does not seem to be much talk about him on the field.
Eli Patterson

Beisel has been active during camp and he's certainly been one of the most talked about guys. He missed a few days of practice before the Cincinnati game and even had a red non-contact jersey on for Monday's workout. But when he's been out there he's rotated at inside linebacker with Chad Brown and Mike Vrabel. Lately, with Vrabel injured, he's been the starter alongside Beisel. It's hard to tell in practice how well a guy will handle the physical workload he'll be asked to carry since there isn't a lot of live hitting. But he seems to be adjusting well to a new system and should be a key member of the defense. I don't think he or Brown had anything to do with Ted Johnson's decision to retire. Johnson would have been the starter and played mostly on running downs whether or not those two came. He retired for health reasons and health reasons only.
Paul Perillo

Someone has just told me they read somewhere that with training camp at Gillette, only a certain number of people are allowed on the field to watch and the rest have to watch on closed-circuit television. Is this true? I've never heard of such a thing!!!! They didn't do that at Bryant College. Anyway, thanks for any info you can send me.
Paula Ravaioli

There is a rule in place at Gillette Stadium that once the crowd hits a certain number that any additional fans are allowed to watch practice inside the stadium on the video board. The Patriots did not have to do that once this summer and the crowds were huge every day. You are correct in saying that no such policy was in place at Bryant, but they couldn't accommodate the same amount of people as Foxborough and instead of watching on closed-circuit TV, fans were simply turned away when there was an overflow situation. The situation at Gillette is much more fan-friendly for all concerned.
Paul Perillo

OK, I must have missed a critical issue or something, but what's with the geese? Is this some sort of harbinger of how the season will fare, or is the practice just so boring that you find yourself staring at the sky? Please explain. I read all of the practice reports and would love to be in on what the goose count represents.Andy Miskavage

Assuming you have a reasonable level of intelligence, it doesn't surprise me that you're unaware of any "critical issue" regarding the geese. Some people are very easily amused and Andy Hart is one of those people. He likes to point out when the geese make their flyovers during practice. He gets a big kick out of it. While most people are wondering what the Patriots are doing on the field, Andy likes to chart the progress of the geese.
Paul Perillo

I'm a fan of Rohan Davey's, but it seems to be almost a sure thing that he's going to be cut this year. Do you think Saban will try to use his early waiver position to set up an LSU reunion with Davey? If so, do you think Davey will play to his potential under Saban and find his way into a starting position (considering Miami's weak QB corps)? While I'm at it, an unrelated question ... does P.K. Sam's early camp injury significantly affect his chances of making the team?
Mike Brewster

What do you think the chances of trading Rohan are? I think with Mr. Flutie Flakes and his experience he brings and the on the field performance Matt is having, is there more of a chance of this happening? What kind of salary cap relief would this be? The other part of that is, what are the chances of swinging a deal for him with Miami? The QB situation isn't good and with Saban and the LSU connection with Davey. Could we get something good for him? Could they swing a player or maybe a 2nd or 3rd round pick in upcoming draft?Eli Patterson

Everyone seems to think it's a foregone conclusion that Davey will be cut, but that's what a lot of people have been saying for a while now. Personally, I don't think Davey will be with the Patriots this season. But evidently the coaches don't share my views on him because he's still here. It would make sense to try to work a trade with Davey and try to get something in return, but if not I'd expect your scenario to unfold where he winds up looking for work. Whether Saban has interest in him remains to be seen. But even if he does, there's no way he'd give up a second- or third-round pick for him. Davey was a fourth-round pick who has proven absolutely nothing at the NFL level. Why would any team give up such a high price for him? Maybe a sixth or seventh rounder, but that's about it.
Paul Perillo

Has Tedy been attending training camp? Is there a role evolving for him?Faith Casey

While I would assume Tedy will be involved in some capacity, he has not been out at practice much this summer. Belichick said early in camp that Tedy is continuing his rehab and no decisions have been made regarding his future role with the team.
Paul Perillo

In PFW, you mentioned that Bethel needs to work on his route running. Can anyone take him in to the bubble or elsewhere and have him run about 15 routes each of hooks, outs, posts, flags, slants, etc? That's 45 routes per day. He's too fast to under utilize. Make him practice it every day. QBs need to throw passes. Have one of the backups throw to these patterns repeatedly. Have him run these 45 routes every day. That's a good way to get a return on your investment in him.
Hillary Tarleton

My guess is when Bethel Johnson is healthy he's run a lot more than 45 pass routes per day. If you watch practice, that's pretty much all wide receivers do. They practice their routes and catch passes from the quarterbacks. I'm sure Johnson is doing running plenty of routes to get himself ready once he's healthy enough to return. But it's not just about being fast. He has to get open and be where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there and catch the ball consistently and learn the different receiver positions and all the other stuff that goes into making a good receiver. He has some wonderful skills but so far hasn't shown them consistently enough to crack into the main rotation at receiver.
Paul Perillo

Man, oh man. You have got to love 'Tom from Virginia. Since he didn't lead off with the usual out-of-town-fan-justification (like "I am a displaced Patriots fan who grew up in Worcester"), I have to assume he is the typical carpetbagger fan of the current winning team, much like the many Dallas Cowboys fans that miraculously appeared nationwide in the mid-'90's. Tommy, my band-wagon-riding friend: anyone who has followed the Patriots for longer than the last 5 years (I am a displaced fan who grew up in Salem) is still more than satisfied with an 11-5 record. Sure, it will seem like a bit of a drop-off after consecutive 14-2 seasons. But come on! Think about how cool it is for us Patriots fans to be DISAPPOINTED with 11-5! I suffered through more 1-15/2-14/3-13 seasons than I care to remember, so I am still quite satisfied with 11-5 if we can get there. And don't forget, 11-5 will get you into the playoffs for sure (10-6 could get you left out on tiebreakers), and nobody - I repeat, Nobody - wants to see this team in January. You also have to keep in mind that the Pats have been on or near the top for a while now. Other teams have had years to learn from and scheme up ways to defend the Pats system. They can't be 14-2 every year ... especially when the NFL clearly wants the flashy Colts to surpass them. How on Earth does an AFC Championship caliber team get the 2nd easiest schedule in the league without a bit of behind the scenes tweaking, hmm? And we get Denver, KC and Pittsburgh on the road ... again? What is this, the NBA?
Nate Stafford

I agree with everything you said, Nate. Calling an 11-5 finish "mediocre" is ridiculous. Coaches that go 11-5 every year wind up in the Hall of Fame. But one thing I disagree with you on is this silly notion that the league "wants" the Colts (or any other team) to win. Schedules are predetermined. Each team knows 14 of their 16 opponents every year. There are only two games that are determined based on previous finish. So the Patriots schedule is basically identical to the other AFC East teams, with the exception of two games that are based on last year's finish. One of those games is against the Colts, who by the way have to return to their house of horrors in Foxborough for the second straight year. But I don't think many Patriots fans (myself included) will be complaining about that. I look forward to watching Peyton Manning self-destruct in Foxborough every year.
Paul Perillo

In the last two drafts the Patriots selected three safeties who have all been tapped to replace Harrison, (Dexter Reid, Guss Scott and James Sanders). I know Sanders is a rookie and Scott is untested at NFL level, but who do you think has a better knowledge of the game?Tim Hart

I'm not sure which players have higher mental capacities than others, but based on the roles each of the safeties you mentioned have filled thus far I'd say Guss Scott is the most likely candidate to earn playing time on defense this season. Whether that means he'll replace Harrison one day remains to be seen. I like some of what I've seen from Sanders so far but it's still so early for him. Reid looks like a career special teams player to me. But Scott seems to be a versatile player capable of playing corner or safety, which could be an indication that he does have the ability to mentally pick up the system and perform well.
Paul Perillo

Are the Pats still messing with the idea of using Klecko as a LB? I know last preseason they were trying to see how it went. With Teddy and Ted both out of the picture Klecko would be another body that could be used in the mix. If not can we expect to see him in a FB role?
James Moyers

It looks like the Klecko as a linebacker experiment has come to an end. He's been working exclusively as a backup nose tackle on defense and as a goal line fullback on offense. Beyond those chores, and perhaps a role on special teams, I don't see any expanded role for Klecko any time soon.
Paul Perillo

The Jets may need a QB. Do you think that the Pats could get Eric Barton or Jonathan Vilma, for Rohan or Flutie?
Robert Lewin

Yes. In fact, I think Belichick and Pioli should ask for both Barton and Vilma, and then hold out for John Abraham and Laveranues Coles, too. C'mon people, let's be serious here. Davey is entering his fourth season and has yet to play a meaningful down. The downs he has played in the preseason have been less than spectacular. Why would any team give up anything of value to get him? And Flutie is a 42-year-old backup quarterback. Enough said. If I didn't know any better, Robert, I'd say you were messing with me.
Paul Perillo

I keep seeing reports that when the Patriots practice certain subpackages in passing situations where they put 6 defensive backs on the field Duane Starks is never one of them. What is his status? Is he hurt, or not very high on the depth chart? I thought he was going to be one of our starters from earlier reports.
Andrew S.

It has been somewhat surprising (at least to me) that Starks hasn't always been included in all the defensive packages this summer. He's gotten his share of reps but not as consistently as some of the others. He hasn't practiced at all since the Cincinnati game so maybe he's been a little banged up throughout the summer and that's why his reps have been limited. But either way it has been surprising to see him on the field so infrequently.
Paul Perillo

There seem to be a lot of DBs and WRs on the roster right now. Who, in your opinion from those two groups, are locks, who are borderline, and who is going home? I'm especially curious about Hank Poteat, who came literally off the street in Pennsylvania to wrap up Hines Ward for a key tackle in the AFC championship game, and then everyone assumed was going home after the season, yet here he still is....and Bam Childress, (is he related to Brad Childress?) who we keep hearing great things about but also warnings that he's still a long shot.
Jason Jarvis

My locks for those two positions would be – WR – Deion Branch (way to put myself out there, huh?), David Givens, Troy Brown and David Terrell (provided that he is healthy, which right now he is not). Tim Dwight, Bethel Johnson and P.K. Sam are all fighting injuries so it's tough to determine which one (or two) will stick. Bam Childress (not related to Brad) is a good practice squad candidate, as is Jason Anderson. At DB, I'll go with Asante Samuel, Tyrone Poole, Randall Gay (again, if healthy), Rodney Harrison, Eugene Wilson and Guss Scott. I think rookies Ellis Hobbs and James Sanders will make it, and Duane Starks and Chad Scott are my two guys on the bubble. That makes 10 DBs all together, which sounds like a realistic number.
Paul Perillo

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content


Latest News

Presented by

Trending Video


In Case You Missed It

Presented by