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Ask PFW: Moving on -- Part II

I have just read PFW part one, seen Patriots Today, and no mention of Randy Moss. Where the hell was he, I don't think that Brady even looked for him until the fourth quarter. At the end of the game, we saw him walking down the tunnel on his own. Was this his last game for the Pats, or was he just not interested in the game. It is a mystery to me. I would have thought that without Welker, Moss would have been the obvious choice to go to, it was not as if the Ravens double-teamed him.
Bob Sears

This is a holdover question from just after the loss to the Ravens. I do not think Moss has played his last game in New England. If he were gone, who would play receiver? And at that high a level? The guy had a very good season for almost any other NFL receiver. Sure he got shut down a few times, but he still put up big numbers for the season. According to Tom Brady, the Ravens did use two guys on Moss most of the afternoon on Wild Card Weekend. He caught a few balls, but wasn't able to be a factor in the game. Of course, no Patriots player other than Kevin Faulk (and Julian Edelman) was really a positive force in the game. I think the Ravens made sure Moss didn't beat them. I don't think it had much to do with a lack of interest for Moss. He's open to criticism for a lot of things. I'm not sure it's accurate this time around.
Andy Hart

Having been a die-hard Patriots fan since 1960, I'll deal objectively with the team's ebbs and flows and optimistically await next season. I did hear one post Ravens game comment from a sportscaster that is curious. He state that Tom Brady's QB rating for this particular game was a "nine (9) out of a possible 160". If this is true; is it a low point record for a QB in a playoff game?
Larry Thomas

Brady's passer rating against the Ravens was 49.1. That was actually much higher than Joe Flacco's winning rating of 10.0. In the NFL a perfect passer rating is 158.3. According to my research I believe Flacco's number was the lowest rating for a winning quarterback in playoff history. Flacco's rating was also the lowest by any quarterback in the postseason since Kerry Collins had a 7.1 in a Super Bowl loss to the Ravens.
Andy Hart

Why do people want to cut Matt Light? I hope we sign him to an extension. The best tackle combination was Light at LT and Vollmer at RT. It's a bonus that Vollmer can move to the left in a few years, but Light has the experience now. Also, Light is the leader of the O-Line and everyone, including Brady, is saying the Pats lacked leaders this year. With Welker injured, Moss 1 year older and Brandon Tate re-injured, do you think a wide receiver at 22 is a higher priority then DE? Hopefully big Vince is re-signed, but I don't think we will find the next Seymour at 22 - that is going to have to wait for the Raiders 2011 1st rounder, hopefully in the top 10 (and a lot of luck). I would like the Pats to draft a WR at 22 and then OLB/DE, ILB and run-stuffing DE in round 2. Thoughts?
Boris Becker

My first thought is that I'm honored to have an all-time men's tennis great reading our little mailbag here on Patriots.com. Glad to have you aboard, Mr. Becker. I think Light's time as the mainstay at left tackle may already be over. He's also reportedly scheduled to earn $4.5 million in straight salary in 2010, so that has people thinking he's not worth the money. I think Vollmer showed a great deal of promise as a rookie and want to see him settle in on the left side as soon as possible. Maybe Light can play the right side. Maybe not. But I want Vollmer on the left. I'm also not sure what kind of leader Light is. He's been the spokesman for the group for years, but I'm not sure that's the same as a leader. I don't think that receiver is a bigger need than a pass rusher. I think it's easier to find a guy to play receiver either later in the draft or through free agency than it is to get an elite pass rusher. That would be my first target this offseason either in the draft or through free agency. Once that is filled, then I'd move on to the receiver need.
Andy Hart

I know you're sweet on Tom Brady, but don't you think it is time we faced the harsh reality that Brady has seen better days and needs to take more of a player/coach role in trying to prepare Brian Hoyer for the inevitable. I think Brian Hoyer showed great promise and maturity in the couple games that he played in. This scenario is reminiscent of the Bledsoe/Brady passing of the torch back in 2001. I know you will dismiss this as some crazy off-the-wall suggestion but you can't deny the facts as they exist.Joe Dussi

What facts are those, Joe? The fact that Brady threw for more yards this season than all but one other year of his career? The fact that we're "sweet on" him, just as the rest of the football world is in electing him to the Pro Bowl? The fact that he finished in the top five in the NFL in attempts, completions and yards, in the top 10 in completion percentage, touchdowns and passer rating? The fact that coming off missing a season to a major knee injury he led his team to the No. 3 seed in the AFC? And what have you seen from Hoyer to lead you to believe he's the answer at QB? You are right about one thing, I am dismissing this email as a crazy, off-the-wall suggestion. This email is much worse than the guy who wanted to ship Brady home to San Francisco or Oakland for a couple first-round picks. At least that brings something in return. You just want to put him out to pasture as a player/coach. Unbelievable! Would you rather have Trent Edwards? Chad Henne? Mark Sanchez? Those are just the other quarterbacks in the division, never mind the rest of the lot of lackluster passers that have starting jobs around the NFL. Come on, Joe, you're better than that.
Andy Hart

Hey Guys, I have been reading a lot of pessimistic comments about "rebuilding" and "starting over" but even with the season finishing before we all thought it would, it seems as if that 2007 offensive brilliance is still essentially intact (minus some depth). With that, I was wondering what it would take to retain the services of Wes Welker and Randy Moss beyond the 2010 season? Is this realistic? Or will we most likely let one of them go for younger talent? I think Randy will be a free agent in 2011 and I'm really not sure about Wes. I truly believe that there is something to be said for keeping your veteran nucleus intact, and as much as I hate Indianapolis, that's the one thing that they have done, that I have any reason to envy (Manning, Wayne, Clark).
Ralph Seymoure

Welker is under contract through 2011. Moss does become a free agent after next season, and I think it will be his last in New England. He's probably coming to the end of the line on his career. I'm not sure he wants to play forever, or be an average player. I get the feeling that when he feels like he can't be great anymore, he'll walk away. That could be after next year. The thing the Colts have done is not only keeping the talent they develop, but knowing when to move on from some of their stars like Marvin Harrison and Marcus Pollard. You can't stay the same forever and you need to have guys ready to step up and step in. That, is where the Patriots have stumbled it bit. Guys like Chad Jackson, Laurence Maroney, Benjamin Watson and others have never developed into the centerpieces of the offense.
Andy Hart

Why do the Patriots not want to re-sign Vince Wilfork to a long term deal? Vince is, I think, the best defensive tackle in the league and a huge deal to the Patriots defensive side. Since losing Richard Seymour I don't see the line getting any better if we lose Vince. I think it is stupid if we do not sign him to long term due to the fact that there will be no salary cap. If you're reading this Bill (Belichick) please sign him. Also, I think if no one tries and picks up Joshua Cribbs I think the Patriots should. He would be a HUGE asset to our special teams.
Jared Fenneuff

Wilfork has been New England's best defensive player over the last two years. He was the team's most consistent playmaker on defense this year. His value to the unit cannot be questioned. But, as always, it comes down to dollars and sense. How much does he want? What does the team think he's worth? And what's his value on the open market? How those three things come together will determine his future in New England. I'd assume he'll be back under the franchise tag this coming fall at the very least. Beyond that, who knows? As for Cribbs, he's clearly a playmaker as a returner and a dynamic athlete. I doubt the Browns will let him go anywhere. I wouldn't go overboard to get him, either, because I don't think he's an every down, full-time game changer. But he's very good at the roles he fills. I don't think you'll get him off a discount rack.
Andy Hart

Is this the best Brady will ever be, cause if so Pats are in trouble. He was lousy this year. He threw so many interception this year and never worked 4 solid quarters. He used to fight, now that has gone out of him. Not sure if it was Bruschi and Harrison weren't there cause they both had the leadership quality, but that was missing this season.
Paula White

I find it amazing that people who clearly don't watch the games still come to our site and send us emails. Brady threw 13 interceptions this season. He had the ninth best interception percentage in the league. He earned his fifth Pro Bowl nod, was AFC Offensive Player of the Week three times and the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. Maybe it wasn't his best year, but it wasn't too bad. As I said to the previous ridiculous emails regarding Brady's supposedly terrible season, would you rather have Trent Edwards, Chad Henne or Mark Sanchez?
Andy Hart

What about drafting CJ Spiller out of Clemson and getting rid of Maroney?
Matt Burns

Spiller is a stud. He's a true play making, home run threat. He's in the mold of the new-age NFL runners like Chris Johnson. I'd love to see a guy like Spiller on the Patriots. But will he be there at No. 22? I doubt it. Not sure I'd trade up to get him. I'll withhold my full analysis until I watch tape, talk to him at the Combine and do a lot more overall research. He'd look great in a Patriots uniform, but is the value going to be there to make it happen?
Andy Hart

Who do you think the Pats are going to draft or what position? Do you think they are gonna take a pass rusher first? Also why does Bill Belichick not like 6 foot 2 linebackers when those are the big sack monsters in the NFLAaron Jones

In the Patriots 3-4 defense, Belichick looks for outside linebackers who are 6-4 with the length to set the edge in the run, bang tight ends, fight tall tackles in the pass rush and make plays on the football in the passing game. It's his ideal, but he hasn't been able to find too many of those guys in recent years. I do think he might change his standards a bit as he continue to look at prospects. Guys like Clay Matthews and Brian Orakpo didn't measure up. But they found success as rookies in the NFL. James Harrison has made a career in Pittsburgh at just 6-0. Those guys all play in different schemes, but they've proven you can succeed at shorter heights. I think Belichick is seeing the same things we are and moving forward may not be quite as fixated on the 6-4, 4.6-40 guys that he talked about a year ago.
Andy Hart

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 6-year term of free agency? It doesn't seem to me that there will be any.
Chad Overbeek

There will be free agents. All the guys with six seasons of playing time whose contracts run out will be free agents. That's Wilfork. That's Kevin Faulk. That's Peppers. There will be plenty of guys out there, just not as many as there would have been in a normal, capped season.
Andy Hart

You seemingly gave Maroney little due criticizing him for his fumbles. Maroney is not known as a person who fumbles and he had but 3 this year which is the same # of fumbles this year as Brady had interceptions in 1 quarter of a play-off game. Maroney has been dumped on enough. Play him or trade him! The reality is that the Patriots have no running game and no real running threats. They do have a lot of washed up runners.Dan Wqayment

Maroney lost four fumbles in 2009, two in the red zone. That's a problem. Comparing the number of fumbles to interceptions is just ridiculous. Understand this, that's Apples to oranges, my friend. (How about me, using the words of both recent presidential candidates in one sentence!) The reality is the Patriots have no running game, as you put it, because Maroney never lived up to his potential to develop into a reliable lead back. He led the team with a career-high 194 attempts this season. What did he do with the attempts? Average 3.9 yards per carry. Not good. Add in the fumbles and you see why Maroney gets criticized.
Andy Hart

I heard something the other day that kind of irked me during the Colts Ravens divisional game. They showed a close up of Tom Moore the colts offensive coordinator and began to say how he has been with Peyton Manning his entire career which I am sure has helped him progress into the quarterback he is today. Then this got me thinking why the heck can't the Patriots keep a coordinator to save their lives? Is it that every coordinator we have thinks they can go on to accomplish great things outside of this organization or is Belichick secretly a real pain in the a to work for? Clearly something is not adding up when we consistently lose coordinators year after year but the Colts can manage to keep their genius offensive coordinator for 12. (This by the way clearly shows how great of a head coach Belichick is if he can keep replacing Coordinators year after year and produce super bowl contenders.)*
*Henry Gates

What has happened to the Patriots is more the norm, Henry. Moore is a special case because of his age and decision that he doesn't want to be a head coach at this point in his life. Generally with good teams the coordinators get chances to move on as head coaches. It happens all the time. It's the way the league works. You want other teams to want your coordinators because it means they're doing a good job for you and building a good reputation through production. Then you have to replace them when they leave. It's part of the business. And let's not pretend the Patriots have gone through huge transitions with the changes at coordinator on either side of the ball over the years. Regardless of who the assistants are, the system remains the same. Belichick makes sure of that. That's why, most often, coaches are promoted from within. It maintains the continuity of the system that Belichick wants in place.
Andy Hart

What is New England's most pressing need for this year's draft? A running back or defender? Should they also wait a year and use the pick they got from the raider's to possibly take Alabama running back Mark Ingram in 2011?Josh Strzeszkowski

I think the biggest need is on defense, an elite pass rusher. But running back is going to have to be addressed at some point. My initial thoughts on Ingram are that he's a great college running back. But I tend to think he's not an elite pro prospect. That's just my gut feeling very early on in the process. You can't deny that he had a great season, and came up biggest when his team needed him most. That's means something. But I'm not sure he's as an elite a prospect as say Spiller is.
Andy Hart

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