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Ask PFW: Looking back and moving forward

The players are the one's that are being hurt by this now that the punishment has been set by the commish. It could be a huge distraction and cost them some games and possibly players not wanting to resign after this season. I think BB should go the players and have them decide his punishment. Let them feel like they have a voice in this as well because they're the ones that have to perform and listen to the critics. Just a short version of what I really wanted to say and not in a come down on him hard but suspend him for a week.Brian B

I think the players made their voice heard Sunday night by whipping the Chargers. That's the most emotional I've seen the Patriots players in my three years with team. The players spoke. They support their coach.
-Tom Casale

Do you feel the players' union will allow this to stand? While the coach's fine is appropriate, the draft pick penalty is misplaced. Will the union allow the league to prevent 1 college player from entering the league in the 1st round with its guaranteed bonus money and notoriety? That disadvantages league prospects and an organization. That's like saying the Chargers should lose a draft pick for Merriman's steroids or the Falcons losing a pick for Vick's behavior.Chris Herb

I've heard rumblings that the union is thinking about making a stink. The money is slotted for 32 picks and there will only be 31 players taken in next year's first round. This hasn't been talked about much but my guess is you will hear more from the player's union regarding this subject in the coming weeks and from what I've heard, they have a legitimate gripe.
-Tom Casale

As a fan I'm really troubled and disappointed by all of the events surrounding the video taping episode. How much of a distraction do you think this will be for the team, and do you think this will keep Belichick out of the Hall of Fame?Gary Strasdin

The Patriots beat the Chargers 38-14, so I would say don't worry about the distraction to the team. And Belichick is a first ballot Hall of Famer regardless of this incident. Taping hand signals isn't enough to offset three Super Bowl titles, so I wouldn't be concerned about Belichick's spot in the Hall.
-Tom Casale

The penalty for Belichick and the Patriots is WAYY too harsh. The fine is what it is, but the draft picks? This season is only one game old, and it sounds like there's no way they could have used the tape in the first game since it was confiscated early on. The draft pick thing sounds like something that would make more sense if it was mid-season and you didn't know if the team had spent half the year cheating. But it makes no sense when 15 of the 16 games have not yet been played, and there's very little chance any use of the tape occurred in the one game that was played.Nathan F.

I kind of agree with you on this Nathan. At the very least, the penalty isn't lenient like some in the national media are claiming. I keep hearing people say that the Patriots got off easy. Are you kidding me? Since when is a $750,000 fine and losing a first round draft pick getting off easy? It's the stiffest penalty ever given out to an NFL head coach. That's getting off easy? Let's be honest, some people just wanted to see Belichick get suspended because they don't like him. That's the bottom line. Anyone saying that this punishment isn't severe enough has a personal problem with Belichick and is just out for blood. There really isn't any other way to say it.
-Tom Casale

I am thinking about all the kids that love Tom Brady, Reche Cardwell, D. Branch, Rodney Harrison, Vinatieri, etc. and wonder the effects on kids now that this latest of a few have come out. I am getting frustrated with the integrity and the cloud of smoke that continues to follow this organization. Apologies are as easy to say as hello. Please let's work on doing the right thing and living our words, let us not talk about it but be about it. Think about all the children that support and dream of becoming you. Let's not teach them the wrong way to be successful and move to the top. If we do allow cheating and brush it off with such a weak attempt to show remorse we are only supporting the idea that it is only wrong until you get caught. Some children may be realizing what they have supported may be questioned and fake. We have enough fake super heroes. We need to teach honesty and integrity and we need to look at the models are kids look at and hope that they are adult enough to make the right choice over and not turn out to portray an image.Kevin DuVal

Kevin, I mean no disrespect to you personally. I posted your e-mail because we have received others that are similar. So in my response, I'm speaking to everyone, not just you.

With that out of the way, that's enough of this grandstanding garbage. Now Bill Belichick has to raise your kids for you too? The guy made a mistake and is being punished for it. It's not his job to teach your kids right from wrong. The last time I checked, that was your job. How far are we going here? If your kid lies to you or cheats on a spelling test, are you going to blame Belichick? What's next? Tom Brady has to put your kids through college? And don't insult my intelligence by trying to make me believe that the youth of America is looking to Bill Belichick as an example of how to act. If that's the case, than I'm sorry to say that you need help with your parenting skills. Go sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.
-Tom Casale

Ilike how every call the Pats cheaters but when you take a look at the Chargers they are cheaters. They have to guys on their defense that were caught using performance enhancing drugs and all we have is a stupid tape the Jets felt would help them win a game due to a forfeit. Who cares about a stupid tape!! Just stay focus on players using performance enhancing drugs.Jason Downs

Jason, you do realize that Rodney Harrison is currently serving a four-game suspension for purchasing HGH don't you? I just found the timing of this particular e-mail to be odd considering the circumstances.
-Tom Casale

Hi guys, I am a bit concerned that Pats are getting thin on the D-line. Who are our healthy backups there? On a video episode, I think that Pats nation needs to rally behind the team now as ever before. We need to shut the critics and doubters down for good.Alex

Alex, are you sure you're talking about the Patriots? The reason I ask is because in my opinion, the Patriots defensive front has been the best in the NFL over the first two weeks. Any team that can lose Richard Seymour and not miss a beat has depth. LeKevin Smith and Santonio Thomas have both stepped up and played well. And let's not forget Jarvis Green, who is doing an excellent job filling in for Seymour. Trust me Alex, you don't have to worry about the defensive line. The Patriots are loaded there.
-Tom Casale

Did Tedy Bruschi actually play in the 9/16 game against San Diego? Is he injured? Will we see him on the field again?Lew Barnes

He actually played most of the game Lew and finished with four tackles. Bruschi and Junior Seau rotated a lot in the first game but against the Chargers it was mainly Bruschi on the field. I think that's how it will be this year depending on the gameplan each week. Besides, with Adalius Thomas killing people on the inside, you could probably line me up next to him. That guy is a freak of nature.
-Tom Casale

Hi guys, I saw Meriweather on the field a few plays here and there on Sunday, just wondering how you feel he's been progressing, and if you still see him becoming the FS, rather than what was originally projected as Harrison's clone at SS.Michel Lafrance

The Patriots really don't have a free and strong safety. I know Belichick says that a lot in press conferences and it sounds like he's avoiding the question but that really is the case. The Patriots safeties do a lot of different things and they all need to be versatile. Meriweather hasn't stood out to me one way or another yet. He hasn't really done anything wrong but I haven't seen him make many plays either. Being a rookie, he's obviously still learning the system, so I would expect Meriweather to improve as the season goes on.
-Tom Casale

I saw in the inactive list that Stephen Neal did not play in the San Diego game. Who replaced him because I watched the game and it was not mentioned once, yet the line did excellent.Andreas P

Paul, come on, when they ask you what you think is gonna happen in the game on Patriots Today the answer is obvious. The Pats win. You can say it'll be a blowout or very, very close but you ALWAYS like the Patriots to win.Andreas P

Billy Yates filled in for Neal against the Chargers and did an excellent job. Actually, the entire offensive line played great for the second week in a row, a very encouraging sign for Patriots fans. Yates is a player the team really likes because of his position flexibility. He can play both guard and center. The Patriots have to be encouraged by Yates' performances against what many people believe is one of the best defensive fronts in the league. And on a side note, Yates is a great guy and one of the more popular players in the locker room, so it's nice to see him have success.

As for Paul, you have to understand that he's a fraud. Just for the record, he picked the Chargers everywhere else.
-Tom Casale

Is there any thing new concerning Mr. Seymour's condition? Must be tough on him being out.
Joe Pirraglia

The Boston Herald reported recently that Seymour said he would be back soon, which is encouraging for the Patriots. The good news is New England's defense is doing just fine without him. Seymour is a great player but because the Patriots are so deep along the defensive line, he doesn't have to rush to get back. Seymour is out for at least four more weeks but when he does return, he'll make an already dominant defense even better. That's a scary thought for opposing offense.
-Tom Casale

Ok by now we all love Randy Moss. My question is, should we enjoy it while it lasts or do you think there's a chance he'll be back next year?Kent Barnes

This is a tough one. I think a lot is going to depend on how the rest of this season plays out. I always said I supported getting Moss because I think he'll be fine for one season. He wants to win a Super Bowl and re-establish himself as one the greatest receivers in NFL history. But if he does win a Super Bowl ring, will he have the same focus and determination next season? That's the big question. On one hand you have to look at Moss' past of causing problems, but on the other hand I don't think you can condemn him for things he did elsewhere if he's playing by the rules in New England. If I had to guess, I would say he won't be back but luckily for Patriots fans, you have people much more qualified than me making those decisions.
-Tom Casale

What do you guys think will happen safety-wise when Harrison comes back? Will Sanders become only a nickel-back, or is there a chance he will still start? Also, do you guys think the Patriots should extend him?Chris Brownlee

I think Harrison will still be the starter when he returns but Sanders has played well in his absence. Look for Sanders to kind of be the third receiver on defense, meaning he'll be on the field a lot whether he starts or not. Sanders is a sure tackler and has really improved in coverage. I definitely think he will be here long term. In my opinion, Sanders isn't just the Patriots safety of the future, he's doing pretty darn good in the present. Sanders is a guy you can expect big things from over the next few years.
-Tom Casale

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