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Ask PFW: In a tight spot at tight end?

Are the Patriots in the market for a new tight end? How about an extra receiver? And are Pats fans seeing double? In some cases, yes. We'll explain in this week's edition of Ask PFW.


Tight end David Thomas.

Benjamin Watson and David Thomas, New England's top two tight ends, have injury histories. I know it's pretty soon to say, but I'd hate to see the Pats pick another TE in the 1st round next year. Do you think Watson or Thomas can do the job?
Cody Cullen

Cody, with Marcus Pollard, the 14-year veteran, being released today, yours is a timely question. Both Watson and Thomas are adequate players, when healthy; Thomas may have the edge on Watson as a receiver, while Watson, at this point, is the better blocker. Neither player has yet to live up to his potential, however. Perhaps one or both will step up this season. If not, this is a position that could easily be a high priority for New England next year in free agency and the draft. Right now, the team has few other options. Veteran Stephen Spach is an intriguing prospect, but he's had to sit out several recent practices, presumably due to injury. Rookie Jonathan Stupar has been steady, if unspectacular. By the way, to replace Pollard, the Patriots re-signed rookie free agent Tyson DeVree, who was with the team during the spring mini-camps.
Erik Scalavino

Joe Horn was just cut by the Falcons. With the slow progress of Chad Jackson, and the lack of any other productive receivers on the free agent market, is Horn a guy that may make sense as a number three receiver?
Scott Gaucher

Certainly. He's a proven veteran who's been a successful number one and number two at other stops in the NFL. At his age (36), a supporting role on a team with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker may be the perfect fit for him. I'm sure Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and the scouting department are doing their due diligence on Horn as we speak to determine if they feel he can help the team.

With Tank Williams, a safety who was playing a little inside linebacker, now on IR, do you foresee New England bringing in recently released Brandon Moore from San Francisco or will it just be the inevitable that we see Junior Seau back here by time the season starts?
Brandon Andrews

I think it's more likely we'll see Seau than Moore, given Junior's history with the team. He said last week on the radio in San Diego, where he lives in the offseason, that if he does return to the NFL, it will only be with the Patriots, and that he has spoken recently with head coach Bill Belichick. Despite his advanced age, Seau was playing with youthful vigor and considerable success a year ago. My guess is he still has some gas left in his tank, especially after the way last season ended in "The Game That Shall Not Be Named." You might be interested to know that in the Pats locker room, the locker that Seau occupied the past two seasons is still vacant … perhaps a sign that the door is indeed open for his eventual return.

What happened to Victor Hobson? I remember people being semi-excited about his signing, but I haven't heard one thing about him since camp started. Is he having trouble picking up the schemes, just not that good, or is first-rounder Jerod Mayo just overshadowing him that much?Pascal Rawls-Philippe

Hobson has clearly struggled to pick up the system here in New England. The few reps he's been getting in the first two preseason games have mostly come late in the game with the third-teamers. Not a good sign for the free agent acquisition. And Mayo has indeed shined in comparison. But Hobson did say recently that the light is starting to go on for him, and there are still a few weeks to go before the regular season starts, so there's time for Hobson to get acclimated. I wouldn't give up on him just yet, Pascal.

Do you know if the Patriots have any plans on wearing their throwback uniforms for any of the games?
Michael Sansone

Not this year, we're told, but next year, when the team marks its 50th anniversary, you can be sure the Patriots will wear a special uniform at least once.

Call me crazy, but I was at the Ravens game last Thursday night and I swear I saw an O-lineman wearing #75, Vince Wilfork's number!
Steven Morrison

OK, Steven, you're crazy. But there's nothing wrong with your eyes. There was indeed an offensive lineman wearing 75. That was veteran Barry Stokes, who was placed on IR this past Friday. With so many bodies in training camp, it's not unusual for offensive and defensive players to wear the same number during the preseason. Titus Adams and Ryan Wendell both wear 62, for instance, while Steve Fifita and John Welbourn are sharing 69 jerseys. If both players were to make the active roster, however, one of them would have to surrender the number. With Stokes now out for the season, that's a moot point as far as the 75 goes. It's also a moot point because Wilfork is a Pro Bowler and Stokes a journeyman. Rest assured, if Stokes had made the team, he'd have been searching for new digits.


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