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Ask PFW II: Camp is here

After coming back from the hip injury Colvin seemed very ineffective during the early parts of the season. As the season went on however he looked much better and especially in the playoffs he played quite well; but still seems like a forgotten player when people talk about the Pats. What do you think the chances are of him to be able to play at an even higher level for an entire season next year?
Andrew Grigg

I don't think Colvin's a forgotten player, at least not among the people I talk to. From what I hear, I think a lot of people share your point view – that he played better as the season went on and was very good in the playoffs. His health is much less of an issue now and he should be ready to show New England the kind of play we all thought he was when he signed as a free agent in 2003. I think Colvin will put up double-digit sacks this season.
Paul Perillo

Greetings from Hong Kong. I am a big NFL fan and during the offseason, to pass the time I have been trying to compile a list of all the left-handed quarterbacks who have either been drafted or played for each NFL team and was hoping that you could provide some information regarding any southpaws who were with the Patriots. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and good luck in the upcoming season.
Richard Johnston

Since I'm a former left-handed quarterback (although a poor one), I'm partial to this question and will try to help you out. It's almost impossible to know every lefty QB that has been drafted but I can offer some names of note. San Fran's Steve Young is the only such player ever elected into the Hall of Fame. But there have been some other pretty good QBs who threw with "the wrong hand" as my brother used to say to me – Oakland's Ken Stabler, Cincinnati's Boomer Esiason, Seattle's Jim Zorn, former Raider Todd Marinovich, Washington's Mark Brunell, former Lion Scott Mitchell, Chicago's Bobby Douglass, current Tampa backup Chris Simms and of course, current Falcons standout Michael Vick. Also, Seattle rookie David Greene and current Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart of USC are lefties. As for the Patriots, the only lefty I can remember is Jeff Carlson, who played three games in 1992.
Paul "Southpaw" Perillo

I believe that Givens is the Patriots No. 2 receiver with Deion Branch being No. 1. How do you think he compares with other No. 2 receivers (or No. 3) in the league and do you think any Patriots receivers on the roster can surpass him as the No. 2? I think that his new contract (hopefully with the Patriots) like all free agents will be somewhat based on how he compares with other wide receivers. Givens is probably looking for a good signing bonus as security because he was a seventh-round pick, and he has made only a minimal salary with no signing bonus until this year. I hope we re-sign him. He plays well in big games, he is an excellent blocker, one of the hardest workers and I assume he is a leader on the team. Why wouldn't the Patriots want him?
John John Heisman

I would assume the Patriots do want him, but at what price. I think everything you said is true – Givens was a seventh-round pick who hasn't made much money in comparison to other four-year veterans. He'll be looking for a long-term deal and for a sizable signing bonus. He says he wants to stay but he may not get what he's looking for in New England. The Patriots will set a price for him and probably won't be willing to go too far over that number. If someone offers him more than they think he's worth, they won't overpay. Now, I believe Givens stacks up reasonably well with other No. 2 receivers around the league, but he might be looking to go someplace he can be a No. 1 receiver and ask for No. 1 money. If that happens, he's gone because the Patriots system is geared toward three or four receivers all making contributions and not one big gun getting all the attention (and money). There are certainly some No. 2 receivers around the league (Indy's Reggie Wayne, for example) that are better than Givens but he's a pretty solid all-around player that has made some big contributions in the past.
Paul Paul Perillo

I was very interested in the Franchise/Transition numbers you gave in answer to a fan's question. Is this the salary EXCLUSIVE of bonuses or is this a CAP number containing signing bonuses, reporting bonuses, incentives, etc.? Also, we only get FOX and ESPN games down under in Sydney. The rest have to be taped by friends and mailed to us. What games will we be able to see "Live" (actually be able to tape ourselves as we do have a 14-hour time difference to the East coast of the USA)?Otis Hill

If a player is given the franchise or transition tag, then by definition the salary is all he gets. There are no signing bonuses or incentives – just a one-year base salary, which counts 100 percent against the cap since it's a one-year contract. As for the schedule, the Patriots will appear on Fox three times, twice during the regular season and once in the preseason. They'll take on New Orleans in two of those games – Aug. 18 and Nov. 20m both at Gillette Stadium. The other game will be Dec. 17 at home against Tampa Bay. The Oct. 30 home against the Bills will be the Patriots lone appearance on ESPN this year.
Paul Perillo

Someone asked you what year NE won only two games, and both were against the Colts. That never happened, but in the early 80's (maybe 80 or 81) Indianapolis won only 2 games, and both were against NE. I know that year Indianapolis had statistically the worst defense in NFL history. I hope I helped.Brian J.

You are correct, sir. In 1981 the Patriots and Colts both finished 2-14 with the Colts prevailing in both meetings against New England. The second matchup came in the last game of the year and was billed as "The Stupor Bowl" with the "winner" losing out on the No. 1 overall pick in the 1982 draft. The Patriots lost the game, 23-21, in Baltimore and earned the top pick, but unfortunately it turned out to be Kenneth Sims, who failed to live up to his potential and had an injury-riddled career. Incidentally, the Patriots two victories came in a three-week span in October against Kansas City (33-17) and Houston (38-10). As an aside, the Colts opened the year with a 29-28 win over the Patriots in Foxborough, which had me on the verge of suicide until my best friend Mark convinced me that the Colts were very underrated and this by no means should be looked at as a sign of bad things to come. Just wanted to say for about the millionth time – "Good call, Mark."
Paul Perillo

I am moving to the Metro DC area in a couple of weeks. As if moving didn't provide enough headaches, I've been stressing over how I'll see/hear Pats games while down there. The local cable company doesn't offer an NFL package, and I can't install satellite. When I didn't have a television during the 2003 season I listened to all of the games on the radio. Here's the question: Does Patriots.com broadcast the Patriots Rock Radio Network 'casts? Can I listen to Gil and Gino over the Internet? Help me out, because this is a terrible time not to be able to receive some sort of game broadcast!
Eric Curry
Belmont, N.H.

You're in luck, Eric, because starting with the 2005 season WBCN's radio broadcasts will be available through Field Pass on NFL.com. In the past, because of contractual obligations, the company involved with WBCN was not allowed to simulcast the signal over the Internet but that has changed and you and Patriots fans all over the world will now be able to hear Gil and Gino on the net.
Paul Perillo

What do you think about the CB position on the team. Duane Starks is a good player and I see him stepping into one of the spots but who do you see in the other spot? I hope it is Asante Samuel. He played great all year while Law was out and played even better in the playoffs. But the team has so many good people at that position. I think it's going to be tough. The last part of my question is about the safety spot. I know Wilson and Harrison have those spots but are they going to do something with all the young guys like James Sanders, Guss Scott and Dexter Reid? I think these guys could be good players but it seems there is not enough positions on the field to play all of these guys. What are your thoughts?
Chris

I like your picks for the starting corners. In fact, in the most recent issue of Patriots Football Weekly those were the two I chose as the probable starters at corner. But it doesn't matter what I think because the jobs will be won on the field over the next several weeks. Samuel really played well in the playoffs after battling through some nagging injuries in the playoffs. He's very confident and plays physically, which the coaches really like in their cover men. But Tyrone Poole and Chad Scott also could factor into the starting mix, and don't forget Randall Gay. Any of these five could wind up starting and it should not surprise anyone to ass any combination of these guys. As for the safety question, I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Those three are fighting for jobs just like everyone else. I believe Guss Scott has a chance to be a regular on defense in subpackages as long as he's fully recovered from his knee injury. The other two are likely looking at exclusively special teams work this season. But none of the three is guaranteed a roster spot by any means. That's what makes watching training camp fun.
Paul Perillo

Greetings from London, England! I remember I first got into the Pats at the age of about 8 in 1987. I decided to be a Pats fan because it seemed appropriate for someone from England to support a team called New England. Never regretted my choice since. My question is, are Pats DVDs or videos available that are compatible in the UK? I would really like to get hold of a copy of the Three Games to Glory DVDs that worked here in region 2. VHS tapes do work here, but I am assuming they are so last century that they aren't produced any more! Can you help? Looking forward to the new season and lots more watching the Pats at 2 in the morning!
Stuart Stoner

Unfortunately Stuart, you're correct in assuming that VHS tapes are no longer made for the Three Games to Glory collection. Hopefully you can find a way to view the DVD because it's must viewing for any Patriots fan.
Paul Perillo

Can you please tell me which players were members of all 3 Super Bowl winning teams?Michael Stadlin

There are 15 current players who were members of all three teams. Here goes: Adam Vinatieri, Tom Brady, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Ted Johnson, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Stephen Neal, Matt Light, Matt Chatham, Kevin Faulk, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo, Lonie Paxton and Patrick Pass. In addition to this group, Ty Law, David Patten, Joe Andruzzi, Roman Phifer and Je'Rod Cherry all earned three rings with the Patriots before leaving during the offseason.
Paul Perillo

I had a brief dream the Pats might swing a deal for Travis Henry to back up Dillon. I know Buffalo probably wouldn't trade him within the division and I'm sure cap room would have been an issue. However, that said, do you find it surprising the Pats have made no offseason moves in creating some depth at RB? They did a great job in regard to LB and the secondary and even adding Flutie was a smart move (should the horrific happen), but how can we head into the season with just Cedric Cobbs and Patrick Pass behind Corey?
Ken Scotch

Ken, if Dillon goes down we might all be reaching for the scotch (sorry). But in all seriousness, how many teams have a back as good as Dillon with a top-flight backup waiting in the wings? Travis Henry is in Tennessee now but he very well could start over the injury-prone Chris Brown. In New England, a guy like Henry would not be willing to sit on the bench. Cedric Cobbs is the most likely candidate to fill the void if something knocked Dillon from the lineup. Otherwise, Kevin Faulk is a solid change-of-pace guy who can be used on a limited basis. If Cobbs can't carry the load, then Dillon must stay healthy.
Paul Vodka

Looking back at the Middle Linebacker spot, with Bruschi out at the very least half of the season, I keep reading that the Pats have 16 other linebackers in camp, but no body mentions Dan Klecko. Did his transition as a MLB fail? If so, when did they announce it? It appeared all last season he was still slotted as a backup in that role. When did they make the decision to make him a DL again? Also, what are his chances of holding onto a job as a DL for Pats (Where we have the most talent)?
Jim Loewke

Klecko is indeed a full-time defensive lineman again … at least if you don't count his role as a backup fullback. There hasn't been any announcement to indicate this, but he was working with the d-line during mini-camp and recently said that he no longer is working at linebacker. He'll have a tough time cracking the roster no matter what position he plays. It would appear he and Ethan Kelley will compete for the backup nose tackle spot behind Vince Wilfork.
Paul Perillo

First off, I would like to thank you guys for all the times you've posted my messages (and proven me wrong) in the past. I have a couple of comments and I'm hoping that you will indulge me with your inside opinions. Of all the reasons I've heard for the Pats to NOT win the Super Bowl again this year, two seem to be most popular. 1.) We have lost too many key players to free agency, injuries, etc.... To this I laugh. When has losing players been a problem this team couldn't overcome? The hardest player to replace, Bruschi, happens to come at a position where there are plenty of other wily veterans to fill in the leadership role. I'm betting on Vrabel to take over which is certainly not a step down as far as athletic ability goes. No one can replace Bruschi's knack for making big plays, but Vrabel has obviously shown he can catch the ball if it ends up near him. 2.) Pats can't recover from losing Weis and Crennel. Now the Parcells to Carroll regime change proved to me that nothing can replace great coaching. And we've all heard someone ask, "How many Super Bowls did Parcells win without Belichick?" But Belichick has something that the Tuna never had: a solid core of veterans that have multiple years of experience under his systems including a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Sorry for making it so long. But thanks again for all the input.
Joel Lindgren

I can't really argue with much of what you've said … although I'm not sure there was a question in there. The only point I'll make is you seem to take some things rather lightly. Just because injuries didn't stop the 2003 or 2004 Patriots doesn't mean they never will. Tedy Bruschi's injury in 2002 was a major factor in the team not making the playoffs. It wasn't the only reason, but it was a factor. And how the absence of Weis and Crennel will affect the team is impossible to know. You said Parcells never won any Super Bowls without Belichick. How many has Belichick won without Crennel? Do I think the Patriots will be fine with Eric Mangini? Yes. But that doesn't mean there's no cause for any concern. The Patriots are and should be big favorites to win it all again because of their overall talent and Belichick's presence. That much hasn't changed.
Paul Perillo

Can Dan Koppen make the Pro Bowl this season?Jack Mooney

Sure, why not. He'll face tough competition with guys like Kevin Mawae of the Jets and Pittsburgh's Jeff Hartings, though. Sometimes the Pro Bowl balloting has as much or more to do with reputation than talent. We'll see if Koppen starts to get the attention some of the veterans receive every year.
Paul Perillo

First, thanks guys for all your hard work, without PFW and Sirius, the offseason would drive me insane. Second, I want to state my thanks for Tedy taking a year off. As much as we will miss the football player on the field, we would miss the man a whole lot more. Finally, my question, what prompted the Patriots change in attitude with Mankins' contract? Usually the Pats insist on a six-year deal. The exception being Graham. But from all I have read and heard, Mankins is going to be a great addition to our Offensive Line. So why only go for 5 years?Ethan Hackett

I thought that Logan got a bad deal in terms of money – $6.4 million over 5 years. I am a little surprised that the Pats gave in to a five-year deal also. What was Watson's deal in terms of money.
Matthew MacKinnon

The reason Mankins got a five-year deal most likely is because the CBA is set to expire after the 2006 season. Until a new one is agreed upon, the rules state that teams cannot prorate signing bonus money any longer than five years. So even if Mankins signed for six years or longer, the Patriots would have only been able to prorate the signing bonus over five years. Mankins' deal actually wasn't that much different than Watson's. Last year Watson got $7.5 million over six years. By averaging Mankins' deal, he received roughly $1.28 million per season. If you add that total to the $6.4 million he got, that would actually be slightly more than Watson's $7.5 million. Now, Watson could have some incentives/escalators in his deal that Mankins does not, but in terms of strict salary there isn't much to choose from the deals.
Paul Perillo

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