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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Fri May 14 - 12:00 AM | Sun May 16 - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: Is Dillon a Patriot kind of guy?

Corey Dillon is a Patriot and I am shocked. I never thought they would trade for Dillon, who has played seven years as a lead back for the Bengals and has baggage to boot. A second round draft pick isn't much to pay IF he keeps his nose clean and performs to his impressive talent. Since he re-worked the first year of his remaining two years, the cost isn't prohibitive and likely offers incentives so the risk is kept to a minimum except when you factor in the draft pick. If Dillon becomes a disruption during his time here, then giving up a 2 will be something to scrutinize more so than the money. He is talented and the Patriots apparently did their homework, as if we should expect anything else. This is a deviation from their philosophy and Scott Pioli always says that there are times when they will deviate for the right reasons with the right information. They obviously feel this is one of those times. I'm less sure, but have less information at my disposal.

About 2 months ago I asked a question about Corey Dillon how I heard he would sign with the Patriots and you said he wouldn't. I was just wondering what is your take on the whole Corey Dillon situation? Do you think he will be good with the team?
Mark Barnes
Springfield, Mass.

I don't know which one of us you are referring to, but I'll assume it's me because I didn't think there was a chance the Patriots would trade for Dillon as I stated at the top. If he keeps his nose clean, quietly does what he's told and plays hard, then he will fit in just fine and provide the Patriots with the true running threat they've lacked since losing Curtis Martin. The 4.0-watch will be on as in 4.0-yards per carry, a mark the team has not averaged since 1985 – John Hannah's last season. This guy has a checkered past, including an accusation of domestic assault that led to community service without charges being pressed. The Patriots are aware of all his baggage and obviously heard what they needed to hear from enough people, including Dillon himself. From a pure football standpoint, the thought of Dillon behind one of the game's better quarterbacks in Tom Brady is enough to start counting the days until Sept. 9. His talent is unquestioned, but he comes here with people watching and waiting for his first misstep. He won't get any benefit of the doubt so he will need to be on his best behavior. One can understand the frustration playing with the Bengals for all those years, but his behavior last season, at least from afar, is questionable at best. Throwing his uniform into the stands after the last game and walking through the locker room yelling for a trade? That's disrespectful regardless of personal feelings. He certainly didn't endear himself to teammates in Cincinnati last year. The Patriots staff is obviously confident in itself, and the fact that the team won two Super Bowls without Dillon makes him a piece of the pie rather than the whole pie. That could have a positive effect on the player. This is a tough media market that preys on those who screw up. That's where the pressure is on Dillon. He may feel like he is now squeaky clean, which means he won't feel any pressure to behave. If that's the case, then it will be all about football, which that guy can play as well as anybody at his position. We'll see.

Alright, so the Pats got Corey Dillon, Genius move, now we have to address our issues in the defensive secondary. We no longer need to jump up in the draft, and try to get Jackson or Jones, we can now try to jump up in the draft, and get Sean Taylor. With Ty Law seeming to never shut up, why don't the Patriots shut him up and trade him away. If there is one guy who could help our secondary for sure it would be Taylor, he is an absolute beast, 230 and runs a 4.45. If that falls through, and Washington or Detroit don't want to trade, or Taylor has already been drafted, why not vault up a couple spots and try to get somebody like DeAngelo Hall?
Andy
Weston, Mass.

The Dillon trade certainly changes the weekend's prospects, although he will be 30 in October and hardly seems to be a long-term solution. I suppose it means New England won't draft a back in the first round, although I also thought it wouldn't trade for Dillon so take that for what it's worth. The Patriots could still target a back later, perhaps a guy like Tulane's Mewelde Moore. Dillon has carried the ball 1,865 times in seven years so one has to wonder when the 29-year-old back's production will go the other way. We always hear about the time in a career when a back's production starts to dip and I believe that's beyond his eighth year. That doesn't mean Dillon will dip then. He could have at least 4 productive years left for all I know, but if Ty Law is old at 30 and can't get a new long-term contract here, then Dillon is just as old and, therefore, one could reason, won't get a long-term extension here either unless he agrees to a bonus payout that doesn't handcuff the club when Dillon's production is no longer up to par. So is he worth a second round pick if he stays for just two seasons rather than the five or so the pick would have been here? That's impossible to answer and unfortunately, the Patriots don't have a crystal ball to look ahead and know the answer. Was the fourth rounder they gave up last year for Ted Washington worth it even though they had the player for just one season? In hindsight, of course it was. That's an easy answer now, but the team didn't have the luxury of knowing it would win the Super Bowl again. He helped the team do just that. But Jarvis Green and Asante Samuel are fourth round picks that will be here contributing for a few years. The Patriots do have a couple of things going for them with this move. They didn't make it out of desperation because they have won twice in three years so it wasn't like they were pressured by job insecurity to make a move – one can assume they did their homework as a result and are using sound, rational judgment. Also, they minimized risk with the salary level and picked up a back for the next two years to whom they didn't have to pay a signing bonus. I am not privy to their running back evaluations for the draft, but assuming Steven Jackson will be an above average NFL runner, maybe they didn't think he'd be available and didn't want to pay the asking price to move up. Given that, they also could have felt like Chris Perry and Kevin Jones were not good enough to spend a high pick. That's speculation, but by getting a runner and still keeping both ones, they can now address other areas. As far as Taylor goes, I think they love him and would love to get him if the price was right. Unfortunately, I don't think Ty Law will be a Patriot and I wonder if his recent arrest will allow the team to go after his remaining unamortized signing bonus, which would allow them to deal him without cap ramifications. Heck, he's already offered to give it back if they would get rid of him. This would give him a chance to prove he is not the liar he claims Bill Belichick is. Defensive back is a need with or without Law. This team needs some young depth and speed. Taylor is a stud. It'll be interesting to see this play out, but I say they go defense with their first two picks (DL and DB) and then address the OL in round 2. Don't rule out a trade up for Taylor. Whew.

HELLO, MY QUESTION IS NOW THAT THE PATS HAVE ACQUIRED DILLON, DO YOU THINK THAT THE PATRIOTS ARE SETTING THEMSELVES TO TRADE TY LAW AT DRAFT DAY AND THEN USE THE DRAFT PICK OR ANY OF THEIR NUMBER ONE PICKS TO REPLACE LAW IN THE FUTURE. HEY BY THE WAY LAW ALMOST CHANGED UNIFORMS. HE SAID HE DID NOT WANT TO WEAR THE PATRIOTS'S UNIFORM SO HE ALMOST TRADED IT FOR AN ORANGE ONE.
Jorge De Leon
Providence, R.I.

Good one Jorge. Orange suit … jail … you can't get one past me. I will be surprised if Law is in training camp. I think the team would love to keep the player, but every time a player goes on a bash-his-team/coach-campaign, he gets what he wants, which is a ticket out of town. It's hard to imagine someone giving up this year's No. 1 for Law, so if the Patriots ask for a first round pick, assume it will for 2005. If not, they could re-coup this year's 2 that was traded away for Dillon. As I said, DB is a need with or without Law.

I'm really confused about what several sources have said about Steve Neal. As well as I can remember he's always been a guard who's been trying to improve himself. And now from 2 sources it is saying he is a DT. Can you clear this up for me? Thanks a lot.
Greg K
Weston, Conn.

When Neal first signed with the Patriots, he worked out on the defensive line. That experiment didn't last long and he was flipped to the offensive side. He no longer plays defensive line.

Hi guys. Obviously I'm exited about the acquisition of Corey Dillon, but with all the moaning he did last year, is he Patriots material (i.e. no one is bigger than the team?) Also, now that we have a premier every down back and don't need one in the draft, is there a chance of trading up to grab Sean Taylor and moving Eugene Wilson to corner or even Robert Gallery?
Tom
Cardiff, Wales UK

As I said above, he wouldn't seem to Patriots material, but Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick never paint themselves into a corner by ruling out things. Heck, you could have a guy on trial for murder in the draft and Belichick wouldn't admit that the Patriots had taken him off their board even there was no chance of the team drafting him. They have always left room for deviations from their philosophy if the risk is minimal and the information they have says it's a sound move. They've had some bad seeds before, but they weren't high profile and as soon as they stepped out of line, they were out of town (see T.J. Turner). Dillon will have a chance to prove himself a model citizen and will have to prove to his teammates that he's ready to make necessary sacrifices.
I would not rule out a trade up this Saturday, although would be surprised if they move high enough for Taylor and especially Gallery.

I asked a bunch of questions about Steven Jackson and Chris Perry this week, but now the Pats have acquired Corey Dillon so they don't seem that important anymore. Now that they have Dillon do you think they will try to get a superior run blocker such as Shawn Andrews? If they trade up above Miami, they have a great shot at getting him and he will improve a weak RT spot that Adrian Klemm has filled for years. Klemm hasn't done a great job and has been injured a lot. Also, I think Johnathan Vilma is a possible pick for the Pats. They need to get younger at the inside linebacker position. Do you think these to players are worth trading up for?
Chris Boffi
Avon, Conn.

No. I don't know Vilma's potential to carry more weight and still play at a high level, but he's around 230 pounds, which is light to play inside in a 3-4 where he has take on guards who are uncovered on the offensive line. That doesn't mean he won't be a star in the NFL, but I wonder if he's better suited to play in the Jets or Bucs defensive system. I also don't think they'll trade up for an offensive lineman.

I know you will get lots of opinions on what the Pats should do with their draft picks now that they have Mr. dillon in the backfield but let me give you the best opinion since I'm the best Patriot fan there is and will ever be. I believe we should trade down our 21st overall selection to Kansas City and grab their late first round pick and grab OL Snee from BC. Then with the last pick in round one select Jake Grove of VT. Then we should move Dan Koppen to guard and Grove to center. Now we can have two BC guards side by side that know each other's style of play, and a center like Grove who will be a steal with the 32nd pick. Plus with the extra pick we get from KC such as a 3rd or possibly second we can gamble on a young productive college back that can learn from Mr. Dillon such as Julius Jones of Notre Dame. Now doesn't that sound a lot more logical than all those other proposals you get like "how about trading for LT of san diego ", or lets package our 2 first rounders for a top 5 pick that we couldn't find the cap room to sign. Thanks for your time sir. Long live patriot power.
sincerely
Real A. Listic
Ricmond, Va.

Well Mr. Listic, you've put thought into that. I think they will use at least one if not both of their first round picks to draft defense, but your scenario about trading down is entirely realistic because they could recoup a pick that they have traded away and then use that to trade back up in a round if necessary. I don't see them taking two offensive linemen in the first round and guards don't play next to each other (semantics I know) so Koppen and Snee would both play next to Grove. Also, if the Patriots had a top five pick and a player they thought worth it, they would pick him and find the cap room.

We finally got ourselves a featured back!! what r ur thoughts about this? can he be productive as well as keep out of troubles?... and I don't think there will be more questions about why isn't mike cloud the starting RB.ok also: due to the fact that we got a RB, what do u think the pats will do with their 2 first round picks?? trade up (for who?) or keep em and use em (who?). thanks.... and go ahead and do some jokes about anything u want.. i give u my permission

Alex Quezada
Panama City, Panama

Hey Alex, people have to read this. How about writing the words out. "r ur…" C'mon. My thoughts on Dillon are documented above. I think he will be a terrific addition if he puts aside his personal agenda and stays out of trouble. He's a talent.
I think the Pats will take a DL and a DB with their two first round picks and I could see them trading up, down and all around. If they trade back from 21 into the second round, look for them to take a 3-4 nose tackle type with the first pick (Tubbs from Texas?) and safety Sean Jones with the second. That's a guess because the Patriots are as unpredictable as a team could be. If they stay at 21, perhaps they will take a corner – DeAngelo Hall? Now that the running back spot is filled, they have no obvious hole and can draft the best player. That makes it hard to figure. If they had a top 10 pick, it would be much easier to predict who they would take, but inevitably someone will drop and they may have a chance to select a player many thought would be gone in the top 12 pick or so like Vonnie Holliday back in 1998. If that happens, I wouldn't be surprised to see them trade up a few spots just as they did last year when they moved up one spot to take Ty Warren. I think a nose tackle is their biggest need.

What is Dillon's contract status? I know he signed a 5 year deal in 2001, but what is left money-wise that the Pats are picking up?
Scott
Chicopee, Mass.

He has two years left on his deal and agreed to reduce his salary to an undisclosed amount for this year (believed to be around $1.5 million, a number that can increase with reached incentives). His salary for 2005 is scheduled to be $3.85 million.

Now that the court has ruled in the NFL's favor (at least for now), Mike Williams and Maurice Clarett will not be eligible for the draft and will be limited to the supplemental draft (or they can go back to college). What is the draft order for the supplemental draft? I thought that I heard someone say that it goes in reverse order and the Patriots would get the first pick. Is this true? Could we actually land Mike Williams?
John M.
Foxborough, Mass.

No. It's reverse order of finish. So I believe the order would remain the same if, say, they won their case in August. A team using a first round pick on Williams would lose its first round pick in 2005.

Now that the patriots have corey dillon who are they going to look for in the first round of the draft? Also do u think ty law got arrested just to shake things up? i mean from what i read he stopped his car, drove again and then stopped and ran...if you ask me he's trying to send a message because players like that generally aren't tolerated in new england (with the exception of the ecstasy bust a few years ago).
Chris
Stow, Mass.

Chris, While they need an offensive lineman or two, I could see them waiting until rounds two or three to address that need. Other than that, I think the offense is solid. While the defense was among the league's best last year, I still see the Patriots drafting early on that side of the ball. Nose tackle and defensive backs are bigger needs to me than linebacker even though the current group isn't getting any younger.

Are you guys as excited as I am by the Corey Dillon trade? What do you think this will do to the Pats' draft strategy? Are we looking at linebackers (the two Miami guys?), wide receivers (Evans / Clayton?), or O-Linemen (Grove, Carey?)? And is Mewelde Moore still on the list as a middle-round project?
Jeremy Hill
Babson College, Wellesley, Mass.

Yes. Nothing would shock me, but I don't think any of the positions you mention would be of the highest priority, but all are good, highly rated players who would make the Patriots better. D.J. Williams might be a better fit in New England than Vilma and I'm guessing he could be moved to weak inside linebacker in a 3-4. The receivers are both solid and would give the Patriots some flexibility in the event of an injury to its small group. But that would mean likely keeping six wideouts. They just paid a bonus to David Patten if I'm not mistaken so it's hard to imagine him being cut, although it was only a couple hundred thousand bucks or so. But assume that Troy Brown, David Patten, David Givens, Bethel Johnson and Deion Branch are on the roster, you might have room for one more receiver if you choose to keep six. So while I don't think a WR is a huge need, the talent of this year's group may be too good to pass up. If they do draft a receiver, my guess is that one of the incumbents will be cut and I wouldn't rule out Brown because his salary is the highest and this is the final year of his deal. I hope that doesn't happen. Moore is a definite possibility at running back in the second or third round.

i'm upset that i never get to see inside the locker room after big victories like other teams do. does BB have some type of policy that doesn't permit the media from getting inside access to the locker rooms or is it something else? p.s. whatever happened to Donald Hayes?

Meany
New Haven, Conn.

Cheer up Meany. Your wish is the Patriots command. Pick up Three Games to Glory II and you will get the access you ask for, including Belichick's speech to the team at the hotel on Super Bowl game day. Donald Hayes was released after one unproductive season with the team, signed with Jacksonville, but did not make the team. He is not on a roster.

I really enjoy PFW here on Patriots.com It's the main reason I visit the site so frequently. Thanks for making this as column as funny as it is interesting.Now for my question: How do I get a cool job like yours?

Ryan P.
Springfield, Mass.

Years of schooling. Training under the tutelage of the best English and journalism masters in the world. Thanks for the compliments. They always manage to find their way onto the website when we get them.

My choice for their first 1st round draft pick would be to trade up to say 17-19 range (swap picks and the Pats give up a 4th rounder?) and draft Shawn Andrews from Arkansas. He is the best run blocker in the draft, can dominate at the line, could start right away, is an adequate pass blocker and the upsides can go on. I understand his weight may be a problem, and he might have some character issues, but it is nothing that can't get fixed in the NFL. What makes a great running back? His offensive line. Emmitt Smith had great hogs opening holes for him. The blocking scheme in Denver helped Clinton Portis do what he did. Let's face it; is Tom Ashworth the strong side tackle to open holes for the Pats next franchise runner?
Bill Conant
Chelmsford, Mass.

Offensive line is a need. Last year's group performed good enough, but we all know they didn't dominate anybody, even in the playoffs when they didn't allow a sack in three games. That's taking nothing away from them because they played well, but the group is thin. Matt Light and Joe Andruzzi are entering the final year of their contracts. Russ Hochstein and Tom Ashworth still must prove they are improving along with Dan Koppen. With Woody gone, it wouldn't hurt to have a stud, but I don't think New England will trade up for Andrews. Chris Snee might be their guy in the second round.

I was wondering with the loss of Washington, will the Pats still use their confusing 3-4 defense? I only ask because finding a good nose tackle isn't the easiest thing to find in this league. Thanks.
Austin
Valencia, Calif.

Yes. The 3-4 will still be their base defense and, as of now, Keith Traylor, will play over the center, but what makes the Patriots defense confusing is how they switch back and forth between 3-4, 4-3 and other fronts that include defensive backs in the mix. I expect them to look for a nose tackle type this weekend. Isaac Sopoaga from Hawaii or Marcus Tubbs from Texas perhaps.

Unlike many other patriot fans, i belive that the patriots need lies in a wide reciever, not a defensive player. Since there are so many talented wideouts in this years draft, do u think that the patriots will spend a first round pick on a talented reciever, or will they all be snatched by other teams by the time the 21st pick comes around?
Ed
Providence, R.I.

I do think there will be an excellent receiver available at 21. This draft is very deep at that position and some receivers taken in the second and third round will be excellent players. I can't stress enough that nothing the Patriots do will shock me, but I don't see them using the 21st pick on a wideout. I do think they will draft defense now that Corey Dillon is on board.

In regards to your response to the most recently published question about Brady dropping to the sixth round: So what if he wasn't a two time all big ten player? Remember a guy named Drew Henson? The same guy Brady "split time" with? He played in EIGHT college games in his career. Brady gets very little attention when going 20-5, and Henson gets front page coverage after 8 games? What's wrong with this picture? Just another reason NFL Scouts do such a horrible job. Missed the boat on Brady, gave Henson way too much credit for no work. This is insane.
Marc
Springfield, Mass.

No comment necessary. Your commentary is stand alone.

If Jonathan Vilma is drafted by the Pats do you see him becoming a impact player like a Ray Lewis or Zack Thomas?
Nick Gregory
Melrose, Mass.

I think Vilma will be an excellent NFL Linebacker. He is a fundamentally sound tackler who squares up well to hit the ball carrier, although he doesn't seem to hit with power. My question surrounding him is size. I wonder if at 230 or so pounds, he could play inside in the 3-4. I think he would excel in another defense, but would have to bulk up to play in New England. He might be able to do just that, and if so, could be a star here. He wouldn't have to bulk up to star in a 4-3 defense playing behind two bulky defensive tackles somewhere else.

How much do you think Bethel Johnson will improve this offseason. i can see him be the No.1 receiver in a couple of years if all goes well. My guess is he may follow in the footsteps of Derrick Mason or Marv Harrison. What do you think?
Anita Bath
Boston, Mass.

Bethel can run with anybody and showed flashes of ability as a receiver. I am not ready to put him even close to Marvin Harrison or Derrick Mason. Harrison, in my opinion, is the best receiver in the NFL and Bethel has shown that he can be a deep threat and a dangerous returner. He has a long way to go to be mentioned with those two. That said, I think he will improve in the offseason and be given a chance to become a more regular contributor. If he can't become that, it's a disappointment.

What're your thoughts on the recent re-signing of O-T-I-S Smith? Could this be an indication that Law may be dealt on Draft Weekend? Or, did the Pats just seize an opportunity to acquire a solid, veteran DB as insurance? Personally, I think Poole, Smith, Wilson, Samuel, Harrison is a pretty darn good backfield even my without ex-favorite player Ty Law.
Mark Herring
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

I think Otis is a solid veteran who knows the system and what it takes to play for Bill Belichick. I don't think he's penciled in as anything or represents Ty Law's future in any way. I think he was unemployed and looking for work. The Patriots have nothing to lose in offering a guy they respect the chance to win a job. I think that's all it is. He's inexpensive, experienced and a respected hard worker. He will be given a chance to win a job and compete for playing time. I don't believe there was any other motive in signing him.

Do redshirted freshman have to study for five years or do they receive a one-year break from academics as well at some point in their college career?
Chris
Franklin, Mass.

No. If a player stays in school for all five years, he studies for all five. If he graduates on time in four years he is given a year of graduate school on scholarship. If not, he simply gets five years to complete his course work as long as he has sustained the minimum requirements to stay eligible. But he is not given a year to compete athletically while taking a semester or even two off from school.

Are the patriots looking into getting Tebucky Jones?
Chris
Wayne, Neb.

Say what?

I know how the salary cap system works, I also know that the collective bargaining agreement on the cap is coming to an end soon, in the next two or three years. My question is do you think the Players Association and the NFL owners will agree to extend the cap, or make it a permanent part of football when the current agreement ends, or will Football become a free-for-all like baseball?
Michael
Walpole, Mass.

I do think the CBA will be extended probably with some minor tweaks. I think both sides recognize that the league's health is dependent upon that agreement and the labor peace that has been in place since it was agreed upon in 1993. It will not be made permanent, however.

I've heard many reports that the Patriots will not be able to pay all of the draft choices if we keep them all this year. In your estimation, is this true? If so, should the Pats be more willing to make deals in this year's draft which seems quite deep or should we amass more picks in the 2005 draft?
Mark
Silver Spring, Md.

Mark, do not listen to people who tell you that. Rookies have very cap-friendly deals and the team can always get them signed. The first round picks get bigger bonuses, but overall, their deals are pretty cap friendly. Take Richard Seymour, who was the sixth pick in the draft. His base pay in 2001 was $1.2 million and he received a $4.8 million signing bonus on a six-year deal for a first-year cap hit of around $2 million. His cap numbers are still falling between $2 million and $3 million even as he is one of the top two defensive linemen in football. He also received a $3.2 million option bonus in year two, making his total bonus around $8 million. They can always get the picks signed under the cap.

Other than the physical position on the field, what are the differences between an offensive tackle, an offensive guard and the center - (both in run blocking and pass protection)? Why are more players not capable of playing all three positions?
Jeremy
Calgary, Canada

OK, I am not a football coach, but tackles tend to be taller and more athletic because they play in space against faster defenders who rush the passer. They must be able to drop into protection and cover the outside usually alone while guarding against an inside move. Guards tend to be more compact and play in tight quarters closer to the defender – essentially face mask-to-face mask. They can benefit from some blocking help from the center and don't have to cover as much area except when they are assigned to pull and run out as a lead blocker on an edge run. Centers are more like guards, but with more responsibility. They usually read the defense and call out blocking assignments because they are in the middle of the line and can get the calls to both sides. An athletic center is key though because he has further to go to pull when asked to do that and often has to have the quickness to block a pursuing linebacker after chipping a defensive tackle toward a guard. That said, I don't know what the heck I'm talking about.

I recently saw an old column recently where a Pats' fan actually complained about the fact that you weren't 100% pro-Pats. Congratulations! That kind of honest coverage puts you way ahead of every other team website in the league.Now... for my question. There are 2 players who belong in the Patriots Hall of Fame when their days are done. One is the QB in Buffalo. When Drew Bledsoe has weapons around him, he's as good as QB in football. Period. Plus, he, Bill Parcells and Bob Kraft flat-out saved the franchise. No questions asked, class fans would salute his hard work for the Pats.The other guy who should ALREADY be in is Stanley Morgan. Why the heck is he not in? Granted, I'm from Knoxville and as a kid followed The Steamer from UT to Foxboro (he's the reason I'm a Pats fan today)... but this guy was as good a deep threat as there was in the NFL! And he's the best deep threat the Pats ever had. Arguably the best receiver they ever had. How can a fan help to get Morgan recognized? What can I do to push this movement?And by the way, you should have heard him brag about the Patriots organization and his time in Foxboro on a recent Knoxville radio interview. Keep up the good work.

John
Knoxville, Tenn.

I agree with you 100 percent. I have to think Drew will be in and Morgan should be. I'll ask the powers that be about that.

So it begins. The Patriots are once again the underdogs in the NFL fan nation. Belichick, if you're reading this, post this in the locker room at the start of training camp. It's from ESPN Nation.The Colts will travel to New England for a 2003 AFC Championship game rematch with the Patriots in the Sept. 9 Thursday night opener. Who wins?57.3% Colts42.7% Patriots

Bob K.
Nantucket, Mass.

Buy Super Bowl XXXIX tickets now. The Patriots have their motivation.

Corner may be a problem for the Pats this year. Law's unhappy, and Otis Smith, much as I like him, wasn't the same when he played for the Pats in the 2002 season (I can remember several instances where he was badly burned). Do you see the Pats using one of their two second-round picks for an insurance corner?
Mike
Norfolk, Mass.

As I write this mailbag, the team, according to ESPN, just signed 10-year veteran Jeff Burris formerly of Buffalo, Indianapolis and Cincinnati and now has a stable of veteran corners. I think Ty Law will be gone and the team will draft a safety, perhaps Georgia's Sean Jones or maybe it will move up to get Miami's Sean Taylor. It will then move Eugene Wilson back to corner, but also use him as a backup safety with enough corner depth to replace him on the outside if a safety goes down.

Has there ever been a Super Bowl MVP who wasn't on the winning team?
Jose Talaverra
Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Linebacker Chuck Howley, Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl V

Yeah, yeah, Corey's a great guy who just wants to compete and the problems were all with the Bengals. Except that he complained for two years about where he was drafted, has fired countless agents since, and has had problems with domestic abuse.Good luck, Patriots. Everyone knows he's a cancer except him.

Mike
Waco, Texas

That's why this trade is not without risk. Financially it's minimal, but the expense of a second round pick is costly if he doesn't work out. The biggest reason I would question the move is that Scott Pioli lists dependability as an important quality among players and I have to question this guy's dependability based on the negative press he received during his career with Cincinnati. I don't know him and never read much about him other than bad stuff so it's not like I'm well-versed on Dillon's life off the field other than the slip-ups he had the made it to Sportscenter. It's almost like this guy is guilty until he proves his innocence. I guess we should try to judge him on our dealings with him rather than on his past. That's the fair thing to do, but we've seen this guy be a disruption and it doesn't matter if that was playing for an organization without the best reputation in the pre-Marvin Lewis days. He CHOSE to re-sign in Cincinnati before demanding that he get out this year. I think this trade could potentially be huge for New England. A back of this caliber doesn't come around very often and with Brady and a solid, consistent group of wideouts, the offense could be a major force. The Patriots have obviously dealt with any issues and are comfortable with him, and his ability is certainly worth more than a second round pick, but I'm uneasy and I think it's fair for any Patriots fan to feel that way. Call it guarded optimism or maybe even skepticism. That said, I was uneasy about releasing Lawyer Milloy and that worked out OK.

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