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Ask PFW II: More rage

If the CBA fails to come to terms will there be any free agents left or will it free agent-less for two years before players qualify for the six-year term of free agency? It doesn't seem to me that there will be any.Chad Overbeek

The uncapped year will change the requirement but not eliminate free agency. Instead of four years of service to become an unrestricted free agent, the uncapped year will require six years. There are plenty of players who will have completed six years of service time and be looking for a new contract. Vince Wilfork is just such a player right here with the Patriots. The number of free agents will obviously decrease based in this tougher standard but they will still exist. One other thing to keep in mind with the uncapped year: there's a strong possibility that more players will be released since there will be no cap ramifications for doing so. A player like Adalius Thomas, who would still have two years of a signing bonus hit remaining under the old rules, would be "cutable" in an uncapped setting. I'm sure teams will take advantage of this and thus create more free agents as a result.
Paul Perillo

Well we now know the only way the Pats will get better is if they start all over again. First Maroney who can run can't block anything has to go! Light a guy that couldn't block a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair has to go! Thomas who had one good year his first, then stopped playing because he is to busy counting his $35 million has to go! Dean Pees who's defense can't stop a team on third down more then 60 percent of the time has to go! And lastly the Pats have to hire an offensive coordinator. This has to be done before the Pats can start to get better.
Matt Lucia

Wow, someone's in need of an attitude adjustment. I know the team just got blown out in a home playoff game but is it really THAT bad? I don't think so, but you may get your wish on a lot fronts. Light could be gone to make room for Vollmer at tackle and I don't think we'll see Thomas back. Pees is an interesting case. I think he's been somewhat unfairly criticized since he's been working with defenses with far less talent than those of his predecessors Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini. But he also hasn't done a great job of covering up for the lack of talent and the defense has been somewhat mediocre during his tenure. I'm just not sure where they turn for a replacement. Maroney is an enigma. I personally would like to see the team simply move on and go in another direction but with the age of the rest of the backs I'm not sure that will be easy to do. He shows flashes of talent but has yet to establish any level of consistency as a Patriot. He'll probably be back but I won't be too excited about it. Not sure if that helps you out at all but I figured you were on a roll and I didn't want to get in the way. Next thing you'd be doing is making changes to the PFW staff and I can't afford that.
Paul Perillo

Hey guys. Tough loss. The season is over, but another one starts. DRAFT TALK SEASON! My question is, which pick will NE have in the first round?
Andres Nogueira

With their dismissal from the playoffs the Patriots are now locked into the No. 22 spot in the first round, one spot behind Cincinnati. The Bengals also finished 10-6 and were knocked out of the playoffs but they pick first based on the strength of victory tiebreaker that gave the Patriots the No. 3 seed ahead on them in the playoffs. The reverse holds true for the draft order.
Paul Perillo

Evidently Bill Belichick believes that Dean Pees is a better defensive coordinator that Dom Capers. I was curious to know if the PFW staff also believes Dean Pees is a better coach than Dom Capers.
Chris Noble

I'm really not sure what the Patriots believed with regard to Capers. He was here coaching the secondary for just one season and then he was gone. He obviously has more experience than Pees and has been a head coach in the league. His performance in Green Bay was rather uneven with the Packers defense really struggling early before pulling things together. Then the group was completely embarrassed in the playoffs by the Cardinals, much like the Patriots were. I like Capers and believe him to be more suited to be defensive coordinator based on his experience. But in terms of their overall ability to implement game plans and make adjustments, I'm not qualified to make those kinds of determinations. I'll simply side with Capers based on his track record.
Paul Perillo

I was surprised that the Patriots didn't go after Charlie Weis or Romeo Crennel. I've read where they both went to the Chiefs to work once again with Scott Pioli. Do you think the Patriots made a mistake not trying to get one or both back?
Gayle Billheimer

First I'm not sure the Patriots didn't go after one or both. I know Belichick spoke with Weis at some point late in the season although I do not know if that had anything to do with a possible return. It's possible that Weis did not want to come back to New England and figured he'd have a better chance of opening eyes by leading Kansas City back into the playoff hunt. Weis also wants to be a head coach and he may not see New England as the best avenue in which to achieve that goal. The same could be said of Crennel. I don't know if Belichick had any discussions with his former defensive coordinator about returning but to assume he didn't would be wrong. I would have loved to see Crennel come back but sometimes things don't work out.
Paul Perillo

Now that the disappointing 2009 season has ended, do you agree that the Patriots four biggest needs for 2010 are: 1. a defensive line that can rush the passer as well as stop the run 2. a quarterback that will exhibit leadership and energy to spark and drive the offense 3. an offensive line that can overpower defenses (a few more like Sebastian Volmer) 4. younger, quicker pass catchers?Jim Tully

I'm sorry but I just can't get past No. 2. Tom Brady is the problem? Really? That's what we're going with? He has no energy and drive? The guy played coming off a serious knee injury and didn't miss so much as a single training camp practice, then hurt his shoulder in the preseason, broke a finger and possibly three ribs … and he has no drive or spark? That has to be the most short-sighted comment of all time. I bet you said the same thing three weeks ago when he was nearly perfect against Jacksonville, right?
Paul Perillo

Really like to have your opinion on if you think Brady is still hungry to win championships and wondering if I can get an unbiased opinion or if you're going to tow the company line. Brady is NOT the same QB and I'm wondering if you saw it and will say it. Five years ago he runs it in from 6 yards out, not throw it out of the end zone. On the sidelines he was looking at the pics and sitting alone on the bench. It was Faulk trying to rally the team to focus and not cash it in. Five years ago that was Brady. Most of all Brady was more accurate and spread the ball around when he had WRs that no one had ever heard of. Has Tom Brady lost his fire? If not how do you explain what we saw Sunday? PS the Packers got down early too, and look what happened when they kept playing.
Rick VanAmburg

So anyone who doesn't agree with your assessment must be towing the company line, huh Rick? Why is it that I simply don't believe Brady is the problem and that has nothing to do with the fact that I work for the Patriots? Oh well, if it makes you feel better we'll just say I'm towing the company line. But my guess is if you were a Packers fan you'd be blaming Aaron Rodgers for missing a wide open receiver in overtime and then fumbling the game away. I'm not going to get into all the reasons why I think Brady is still a great quarterback but I'm going to address a few of your laughable assertions. Five years ago Brady would have run it in from the 6. Of course he would have, five years ago Brady was coming off a torn ACL/MCL in his left knee. That's simple enough for even you to see, right Rick? And Brady used to spread it around to receivers no one every heard of … so Deion Branch, David Patten, Troy Brown, David Givens, Daniel Graham, Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney – some of the "unknowns" you alluded to – weren't better players than Sam Aiken, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater? Those are the guys that were on the field Sunday alongside Randy Moss. Please.
Paul Perillo

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