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Patriots Replay Tue Jul 14 | 02:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: It's a clinch!

I think that the way the Pats played last Sunday against the Jaguars, they looked like they were finally acting like a team. I was impressed with the way the defense looked and played. I also thought that the offense was also running on all cylinders. With just one game left why tamper with the consistency that was showed. Also you could rest Wilfork and Warren again because they did not play last week. As for Brady, well that is the coach's call.Michael Mackowiak

Do you think it'd be wise to give the bulk of this week's practice reps to the backups for the Houston game, but start the starters for a series or two and then letting the backups gain valuable experience finishing the game heading into the playoffs? Regards.
Kealand McKinnon

I think the Patriots should do, as Bill Belichick always does, what's in the best interests of the football team. In my opinion that would be to rest the likes of Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork and others. I think the big three on offense, especially Brady, have been banged up all season. Moss dealt with a back issue. Welker has taken more hits than a punching bag in just 13 games. I'd give all those guys a week to re-charge the batteries, get healthy and feel good heading into a home playoff game. I wouldn't even have them dress for the game. Give them as much a mental break as a physical one. Let the backups get plenty of reps this week preparing for and playing against Houston while the key cogs get healthy and turn their focus toward real January action. You can't rest everyone, but you can rest the guys that need it the most.
Andy Hart

What is with AT, his overall play seems to lack effort the play where he released Garrard early allowing him to tackle Meriweather after his pick was just a clear quit on the play. I hope we can get some help on the outside because the only OLB having a decent year is Banta-Cain.
Brad Pelletier

First, the man's nickname is AD. It's from his first and middle initials. Not, as so many fans mistake, from his first and last initials. Second, let's just leave AD alone. He's made some mistakes this season. He's never lived up to his contract in New England. He's never been the player we were sold when he got here. But he's not as bad as some like to make him out to be. While you're focusing on one play, did you see the play where he set the right defensive end on Sunday and then hauled Maurice Jones-Drew down from behind? It's a play that not all, if many, of the outside linebackers on this roster could make. Do I think that Thomas will be back next season? No. But let's not try to run him out of time before this season actually ends. I think he can still help this team in the next few weeks. I do agree that Banta-Cain has had the best season of the OLBs on this roster. I'm not sure he's been as dominant as his 9.5 sacks might lead you do believe, but he's done a very good job in what I think has been a pretty tough situation.
Andy Hart

Dear PFW, Happy Holidays. You may remember that I wrote in after Week 2 and mentioned that BB's schemes were outdated and even though I think he is the best coach, it maybe time for BB to go. Well after leading the team to 10-5 record with all the adversities like not having a legitimate 3rd WR to take pressure off Moss/Welker, having no pass rush, and young secondary, BB has done fine job this season and I was wrong. Now that it looks like the Pats are on the cusp of peaking at just the right time, which playoff seed do you think favors the Patriots more 3 or 4? Which team do you think we match up better with (assuming we get past the 1st round of course) the Colts - would be an awesome rematch, or the Chargers? Thanks.Jeff Cabral

Glad to see you're not emotional and reactionary. But at least you admit your mistakes, something few of us enjoy doing. I wouldn't feel great about heading to either San Diego or Indy, but I think I'd have to take the Chargers. I fear Peyton Manning more than I do Philip Rivers at this point. I know the Chargers are probably playing better football and may be the better all-around team. But I still think they're more susceptible to the upset, with the combustible Rivers leading the charge. On the other hand, I think Manning feels like he owns the Patriots right now and could come back from just about any deficit at any point in any game. I might not disagree with him.
Andy Hart

Happy Holidays. I have question regarding upcoming free agency if this was previously answered shame on me. I heard Adam Schefter of ESPN say the top four teams who clinch 1st round byes in this year's playoffs, will not be able to make offers to elite free agents in this upcoming offseason unless those teams lose a top level free agent themselves. Would you mind explaining in a little more detail how this new free agency rule works? Thanks.
Jeff Cabral

First time ever, I'm going to put back-to-back emails from the same person. That's the good news. The bad is I don't have much more to offer. You explained it pretty well. The rule dictates that the final four teams can't sign unrestricted free agents, other than their own, unless they lose comparable free agents. So, for example, if the Patriots end up as an AFC conference finalist or better they could re-sign Vince Wilfork. Or, if Wilfork signed with another team, they could replace him with a free agent with a salary equal to or less than what Wilfork got with his new team. That's the basics of it, and it actually includes limitations on the final eight teams in the postseason, limiting who teams five through eight can sign and how much they can spend. With the likelihood of an uncapped year starting in March, we're in line for a lot of these types of questions that will fill the muddy waters of what looks like it will be an ugly labor dispute.
Andy Hart

I was wondering, what type of season is Richard Seymour having in Oakland? Would his presence in New England have made much of a difference on defense? Also, on draft day I was hoping that the Pats would have drafted LB Rey Maualuga as I thought he would have brought a physical presence to the interior defense. The Pats passed up several opportunities to pick him. How is he doing and do you think he would have been a good fit for the Pats? Apparently BB didn't think so.Gary Goldstein

Seymour has 41 tackles, four sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble in 15 games this season. Of those 15 games, I've watched zero. So I can't tell you exactly how he's playing. But I do remain confident that this team's defense would be significantly better with Seymour playing on it. But that, as they say, is water under the bridge. Or, maybe over the dam? Whatever. Maualuga, who's now dealing with an injury, is having a very solid season in Cincy. But I'm not sure how much he would have helped this team. I don't think an inside linebacker is a huge need right now with Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton atop the depth chart. I think he's going to be a very good player. I like his physical style. But how much better would the overall defense be with him lined up next to Mayo and behind Wilfork?
Andy Hart

It looks like Cincinnati more than us controls the choice of playoff opponents. And if they rest some starters, win or lose in Houston, we are likely to get Baltimore and then Chargers. Is that right?
Brady F.

Brady, what the F? I was having a nice mailbag until you had to bring up the ridiculous, headache-inducing playoff scenarios coming into the final week. Thanks for ruining my morning this holiday season. I know our tie-breaker with Cincy will probably come down to either Strength of Victory or Schedule. I can't explain it to you, until someone explains it to me. And it won't play out until all the games are played on Sunday to determine those percentages, assuming both teams either win or lose and therefore remain tied. I don't know what is likely at this point. Assuming the Ravens and Jets win, they both make the playoffs. Other than that, nothing is likely right now. Nothing! It's all very much up in the air. But it's better to simply be wondering who we'll play rather than to be wondering if the season will continue or not. Right?
Andy Hart

I think that the play of our linebackers will go a long way in determining our progress in the playoffs. Which players do you think have more upside in contributing at either ILB or OLB position?Jerome J.

I think Adalius Thomas and Jerod Mayo are the two guys who, if they could elevate their game, could dramatically influence the defense for the better. Mayo, as he talked about all offseason, needs to make more game-changing type plays. Thomas just needs to do more to maximize his overall potential and ability. Will those things happen in the next few weeks? Who knows, but if they did I think this defense would be much better for it.
Andy Hart

We would like to know your impressions of Adrian Grady, DL on the practice squad. He was an undrafted free agent this year who has been on the Colts and Patriots practice squads. He is from Nicholls, Georgia, a small town in Coffee County where he starred as a Coffee County Trojan. He has always been not only a good, motivated player, but also very smart and attentive to the mental aspects of the game. Thanks for your time and please see if his brief bio can be updated and have his photo included. Thanks again and on to the playoffs!
Ben Carlton

I'd like to have an impression of Adrian Grady. He joined the practice squad during the year. We don't get access to practice, other than stretching, during the year. So I've never really seen him do anything. I don't know that there is much to update on his bio other than he's on the Patriots practice squad. Sounds like you would be better able to update his bio than us.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, first up, I love you guys. Second, I didn't know Paul was bald. And Paul, there's hope, in the sense of Hair Club for Men. On to my question, would we lose the Oakland draft pick if there were a lockout in 2011? I don't think there will be a lockout, because of the financial consequence. I was just wondering. Thanks, guys.
Aaron Le

Not knowing Paul is bald is like forgetting that the Pope is Catholic. Come on, Aaron. Paul is thin up top and thick through the middle. If he could flip those two descriptions around he'd probably be a bit more happy, but then he wouldn't be the Paul that we've all come to know and love. As for your question, the CBA dictates that there will be a 2011 draft, regardless of a lockout. So the selections would take place as normal, but the players wouldn't sign with teams until the labor issue between the players and the league worked itself out.
Andy Hart

After the past two games, I'd say the offense is starting to look back to its strong form. Granted Buffalo wasn't Brady's best game, but the offense as a team looked relatively solid. The defense is starting to have a more consistent pass rush in my opinion, with Banta-Cain, Burgess and Wright having strong games. Would you agree? Thanks for your time and hard work!
Dave Sarro

I'm not sure I'd agree with it for the last two games. I think the team looked great against a playoff-caliber opponent on Sunday. I thought the offense was less impressive against a lesser opponent. The defense was good against that lesser opponent in Buffalo and dialed it up even more against the Jags. I agree that the pass rush is a big part of the success over the last couple weeks. I don't want to put too much stock into what they've done against a bad Bills offensive line and against a couple rookie tackles last week, but it is better than it was earlier in the year. Hopefully the guys you mentioned and others can keep things rolling.
Andy Hart

How big of an impact has James Sanders been for this defense? It seems to me that ever since he got re-inserted into the weekly game plan, the secondary, and even the defense as a whole has been playing at a much higher level. How much of an influence has his presence been?Kyle Witkoski

You are asking that question to the unofficial president of the James Sanders fan club. I think he's a very solid player and the type of guy a defense can count on. Even when he wasn't playing, some of the defensive backs talked about going to him for advice and with their questions. That says a lot about his leadership and the respect he has from his teammates. I don't know why he went so long without playing. Only Bill Belichick and Dean Pees can answer that one.. Don't discount that this team is 4-0 when Sanders is a starter and 6-5 when he isn't. The numbers don't lie. Players have talked about improved communications in recent weeks and Sanders has been part of that. He's a sure tackler who minimizes the big plays allowed. On Sunday he had arguably the play of the game with his fourth-down stop in the first quarter. He's not really a guy who's going to make a ton of game-changing, high light plays to win you games. But he's not going to give up big plays or lose games for you, either. He's solid, consistent and reliable. Those are all things I like on defense.
Andy Hart

I don't recall seeing Maroney after the fumble during the Jags game. Was Maroney injured, being disciplined or was Belichick interested in seeing the rest of the running back core?Steve Dumas

As Bill Parcells famously said, that's a Dumas question. Just kidding. Maroney did not play on offense after his goal line fumble on the first series in the first quarter. He was standing on the sidelines with the offensive coaches, looking like he wanted back in. But he never got the chance. I don't know exactly why he never got back on the field, but my guess would be that it was based on the coaching staff's displeasure with his fourth lost fumble of the season, his second in the red zone. Combine that with the fact that Sammy Morris ran well (Belichick even talked about Morris getting "hot") in his place and that the team wanted to get Fred Taylor some reps running the ball and you are left with Maroney sidelined for the final three-plus quarters of the game. Does it mean he's in the proverbial doghouse? Only Belichick can answer that. All I know is that turnovers, especially in the red zone, drive coaches nuts. With other options to turn to on Sunday, Belichick went with those options. And I'm sure he'll talk about that decision at length when he sits down with Maroney for their weekly one-on-one session. My guess is that we'll see a healthy dose of Maroney on Sunday in Houston. But that's just a guess.
Andy Hart

Happy Holidays PFW!! Ok, so I was reading Don Banks article on the team of the decade and he said something to the effect of not so fast Patriots the Colts could compete for team of the decade. OK, so I wanted your unbiased opinion (yeah right). The PATS went to the playoffs in 01,03, 04, 05, 06, 07. The PATS went to the AFC championship in 01, 03, 04, 06, 07, went to the SB in 01, 03 , 04 and 07. The PATS won the SB in 01, 03 and 04. The PATS went 16-0 in 07 and shattered every offensive statistic you can think of. The Colts went to the playoffs in 00, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, and 08. The Colts lost four times out of those eight in the first round and one of those losses was by 41 points. The Colts went to the AFC championship twice during that stretch and only went to the Super bowl once, and as we know they won. So my question is do you think Don Banks is crazy for saying the Colts give the PATS competition as team of the decade or do you consider regular season wins as the key measurement or Super bowl victories?
Tom Raymond

I think the Patriots are clearly the team of the decade. For me you start with the titles and work your way back. New England had three, Pittsburgh two and the Colts one. Plus, it's not like the Patriots stunk it up in the years they didn't win the title. They had another Bowl trip and an AFC title game loss in the final minutes. So they were legitimately in the Super Bowl hunt in five times. That's pretty impressive. Sure the Colts may have a couple more regular-season wins. But the Patriots ability to win in January and February trumps those regular season conquests. End of story.
Andy Hart

BUEN DIA! ESPERO QUE ALGUIEN ENTIENDA CASTELLANO Y LEA MI MENSAJE. SOY ARGENTINO TENGO 21 AÑOS Y TENGO UN TERRIBLE AMOR POR LOS PATRIOTAS, VERDADERAMENTE NO SE COMO NACIO NI CUANDO PERO EN UN MOMENTO ME ENCONTRE MIRANDO LOS PARTIDOS (CON TODA LA DIFICULTAD QUE TRAE EN MI PAIS CONSEGUIR LA SEÑAL), NO ENTIENDO COMO NI PORQUE PERO UBIESE DADO LA VIDA POR HABER NACIDO EN EEUU Y PODER SEGUIRLOS, SIENDO QUE ACA ES UN DEPORTE QUE NADIE CONOCE, ME SIENTO EXTRAÑO PERO FIEL SEGUIDOR, EH BUSCADO POR CIELO Y TIERRA LA MANERA DE JUGAR FUTBOL ACA PERO NO EXISTE EL DEPORTE PRACTICAMENTE NI NADIE ME ENTIENDE LA PASION QUE TENGO POR EL, MAS RARO AUN ES QUE NUNCA PUDE CONSEGUIR NI TENER EN MANO EL BALON EL FAMOSO OVOIDE, NUNCA PUDE ADQUIRIR UNO NI DISPONGO DEL DINERO PARA COMPRAR UNO DESDE ACA. ASI QUE ADEMAS DE TODO LO AMO SI HABERLO PODIDO JUGAR NUNCA, PERO NO ME PIERDO NINGUNA TEMPORADA, Y EH COMPRADO AÑO TRAS AÑO LOS JUEGOS DE NFL PARA JUGARLOS EN LA PC Y ME PASO HORAS HACIENDO CAMPEON A LOS PATRIOTAS Y REVIRTIENDO EL SUPERBOWL CONTRA LOS GIANTS, TOM BRADY ESTA EN MI CORAZON NO IMPORTA NADA DE LO QUE OCURRIO ESE DIA CONTRA LOS DE ELI MANNING. BUENO SIMPLEMENTE LES QUERIA HACER LLEGAR MI PASION DESDE EL HEMISFERIO SUR Y DESEAR FELICES FIESTA A TODOS, ESPERO HAYAN PODIDO LEER EL MENSAJE Y QUE LES HAYA GUSTADO!! SUERTE PATRIOTAS SIEMPRE EN MI CORAZON!!!!
LEONARDO PASTORINI

Gracias.
Andres Corazon

What are the biggest problems with football talk shows? Two things -- too many hosts who talk over each other. When that happens, all the listener hears is a cacophony, and I can't change the station fast enough. With the exception of NBC's FNiA, just about every show is guilty -- including PFW TV. I find that Andy Hart is the one most guilty of over talking, and talking over, the other people on the show. The show could be much better with more structure and discipline.
Chip

Thanks for watching. I appreciate your email and wanted to answer it, unfortunately I started talking loudly to myself while reading it. It was so distracting that I lost my focus and never got to the end of the email. I'm sure everything you had to say was right on.
Andy Hart

Please answer this question- with the severe lack of depth at wide receiver...wait let me back track a bit...once an amazing talent in college with a promising rookie season, Chad Jackson, after 3 short years in the NFL cannot find a job. He made a couple of big plays with us in the past and knows our offense (somewhat.). Can't we give him a phone call.....maybe he could step and be that number 3 guy...his overall experience should be a humbling one by now...what's your take on this? While we're at it, lets call Bethel Johnson as well (just kidding, unless he is available and still runs sub 4.3)
Garret Stewart

I know this is a probably a joke, but I'd have no interest in Chad Jackson. He never did much here and I certainly don't think he'd be able to get reacquainted with the offense (or maybe acquainted for the first time) during the season. I'd actually rather have Johnson. He made more plays for this team – both on offense and kick returns – than Jackson ever thought of making. Sorry, but this team is going to have to play with what it has at receiver. Thankfully, that's pretty good talent in Moss and Welker even if the depth is a bit lacking. Hey, you can't have it all.
Andy Hart

How might the players we have on IR influence our picks in the 2010 draft? I'm thinking particularly about McKenzie (ILB), Crable (OLB), and Tate (WR). Are there other quality people who are likely to return next year and make a difference? And I'm also wondering how the 3 Navy guys, currently on active service, might help next season.Arthur M. Freedman

The Patriots currently have five players on injured reserve – OL George Bussey, LB Shawn Crable, LB Tyrone McKenzie, WR Brandon Tate and RB Chris Taylor. TE Robbie Agnone is on the practice squad injured reserve list. While WR Tyree Barnes, RB Eric Kettani and WR Shun White are on the Reserve/Military list. I think McKenize has the greatest chance to make this team and contribute moving forward. I liked what I saw from him and heard about him in the summer. Crable is a great unknown and I have trouble counting on him after starting his career with two years spent on IR. And Tate has had two major knee injuries in a little over a year. For a playmaking, speed-based athlete, that's a lot to overcome. So I have a hard time penciling him into the future. I don't think the other guys on IR or on the Military list will ever have much of an impact on this team or its future. To summarize I double very much any of the names, save maybe for McKenzie, will influence the Patriots thoughts on draft weekend 2010.
Andy Hart

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