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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Apr 11 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 16 - 11:55 AM

Ask PFW: No vacation from the questions

Most of the NFL world may be enjoying some time off, but the questions from fans in Patriots Nation continue roll in here at Ask PFW.


Seems to me that the**debate between 19-0 and keeping Brady for 10 years**comes down to whether you are more of a Patriots fan or a football fan. Making football history versus being able to watch an incredible football player for 10 more years. Do you agree?
Bob Bennett

No, I don't agree. First, I'm on the side of wanting to keep Brady around for as long as possible. As a fan I want to see one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game play for my team for as long as possible. I think what has separated the Patriots from the rest of the league since 2001 – and led to consistent success challenging for Super Bowls on nearly a yearly basis – is the combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I'm not looking to break that up any sooner than necessary. As much as having a 19-0 perfect season would be nice, what's it really worth? You can only live off history for so long. I prefer to watch, follow and root for a team on a weekly and yearly basis that's among the best in football. With Brady you get that. While nothing is set in stone, life after Brady is probably not going to be nearly as fun for Patriots fans as life with Brady. Would fans really feel good on some random October Sunday watching the post-Brady Patriots getting beat up 35-3 while they tell anyone who'll listen, "Hey, we're still the only 19-0 team in league history." Did Celtics fans feel good in the down times of the 1990s and 2000s because they'd once been the dominant dynasty in the NBA? No, losing stinks regardless of how glorious your history is. As a football fan and a Patriots fan I want Brady around for as long as possible. I want to watch him lead my team to as many games – regular season and postseason -- for as long as possible. And based on the results of our "Debate Friday" poll on, the bulk of Patriots fans agree with me.
Andy Hart

I am aware that training camp begins on July 30th. Do you have any idea when it ends? (How long does it usually run)? I would appreciate any information you can give me here. ThanksJack Miranda

Listen, Jack, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say … Bet you've never heard that one before! Training camp often lasts for two to three weeks in late July and early August. Since it's starting a bit later this year it could run into or through the first three weeks or so of August. It usually closes sometime around or after the second preseason game. This year that comes Aug. 20 against the Bengals. The schedule is always tentative and subject to Bill Belichick's assessment of his team's needs/accomplishments as the preseason progresses. The only sure-thing at this point is that it will open on July 30. Beyond that be sure to check on a regular basis for the latest training camp schedule updates.
Andy Hart

Hi. How would I obtain a list of the 2009 training camps that are open to the public?
Tunisia Glasscock

Oftentimes I make jokes about our emailers' names. I'm not touching this one. Nope. Not gonna to do it. Wouldn't be prudent.
As for your question, I hate to break (sorry, probably a poor word choice considering your name) it to you Miss Glasscock but the short answer is you can't find a list of training camp workouts that are open to the public. The training camp practice schedule is set by Belichick, is tentative and can change daily based on a variety of factors including the weather. As I said in the previous answer, we know it will open on July 30. We know it'll probably last for somewhere in the range of three weeks. We know that most outdoor practices during that span will be open to the public. But the specific times, dates and sessions aren't set in stone or truly scheduled at this point. Please check on a daily basis during training camp for the latest practice schedules and changes. If you're looking to plan a trip to Foxborough for the workouts I'd try to get it done sometime within the first week of camp. As long as the weather is good that's probably the surest bet to see at least one practice per day.
Andy Hart

Since hearing about this wrestler turned football player, he has held my interest. Please talk more of him; I think he could be a defense or special teams member.
Daniel Kirby

Right now Jermail Porter, a wrestler out of Kent State who has played football since he was a young boy, is working as an offensive lineman with the Patriots. At 6-5, 310 pounds he clearly has the size for the NFL. Based on his wrestling background as a top-level collegiate wrestler you'd think he'd also have the feet and athleticism to make a run at the NFL. But I still think he faces a huge challenge. Remember, Stephen Neal bounced from offense to defense, was cut and landed on practice squads before he eventually became a starting NFL offensive lineman. It's not an easy road for Porter. From the little I've seen from him in mini-camp work, I don't think he's as good an athlete as Neal. But I'll be able to offer a slightly better assessment once we see some padded action in training camp.
Andy Hart

You guys probably received a million e-mails since Julius Peppers signed his franchise tender. I would be happy if Peppers ended up here, but not at the price of Vince Wilfork. Would you agree? On the other hand, if the Patriots could somehow find a way to keep Wilfork and obtain Peppers...
David Sarro

I've never been as in love with the Peppers-to-the-Patriots talk as some fans and even the other writers here at PFW. Would I take him? Sure. But not at the cost it would take in both dollars and trade compensation. I'm not sold he is a perfect fit for the OLB spot here. I'm also not sold on his mental makeup and desire to be a team player. Seems like everything he says revolves around Julius Peppers. Not sure he's a perfect Patriot. I certainly wouldn't want to get Peppers at the cost of keeping Wilfork or maybe even having to lose some other players in the deal.
Andy Hart

Hey guys I love what you guys do with answering questions and the Friday debate (which is probably my favorite). My question is do you think that last year was our worst year defensively this decade? Some people say it is and I don't agree. I thought the 2005 season was worse.Alex Hyun

Thanks to the success the team has had for the last decade we spend so much time in New England arguing about best-evers. Best QB. Best offense. Best wide receiver. Best dynasty. Best winning streak. Thankfully, we rarely spend much time thinking about worsts. I actually think the 2002 defense was the worst since all this winning started in 2001. That group allowed opponents to average 4.7 yards a carry on ground, gave up 23 scores through the air, surrendered. 336.1 yards a game and saw opponents score more than 20 points in 10 different games. Not surprisingly the 2002 team failed to make the playoffs. The 2005 group actually played decent defense late in the year for a team that made the playoffs before falling to Denver in the Divisional round. I know we all remember how bad Monty Beisel and Co. were that fall, but in my opinion 2002 was even worse. Last year's group is in the conversation thanks to the dismal secondary and lackluster pass rush. The group gave up 20 or more points eight times, allowed 4.1 yards a carry, 309.0 yards a game, 27 scores through the air. Those numbers are bad, but on the whole not quite as bad as those from 2002.
Andy Hart

Hi PFW. Love the work you guys have put in to keep us informed. I've got a couple of questions. First, do you think it will ever happen that all 4 teams in a division will go 13-3? Of course this is hard but if ever this was to happen, in which division would you say it would likely happen? Second, name any new starters to the lineup in your opinion. Thanks. You guys are great.Chris C.

No, I don't think it will ever happen. But anything is possible. Obviously it would have to be a very good overall division with evenly matched talent within the division. I guess right now the most likely candidate would be the NFC East with the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins. Over the years that division has often been solid top to bottom and often beats up on each other within the division. The problem with this hypothetical scenario is that most divisions have a clear bottom dweller each season. That throws a wrench in this admittedly fantastical idea.
Andy Hart

Do you believe the Patriots answer at outside linebacker is already on the roster? If so, who would that be?
Chris Rigoli

Not a bad question. Too bad your last name made my mind jump to how hungry I am and how long it's been since I had good ravioli. Ummm!
Anyway, back to work. While I would never rule out the summertime addition of a veteran presence to the OLB spot (probably a lesser name, not a Peppers) I think the team is going with what it has at this point. But I don't see any one player taking over the bulk of the reps at the spot opposite Adalius Thomas. My guess is that a combination of Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable will be given the chance to fill Mike Vrabel's All-Pro cleats. Woods has solid experience in the system, got some playing time before breaking his jaw last fall and looks to be a decent edge-setter against the run. But I think he's lacking in the pass rush department. That's where Crable comes in. He's got an impressive build and has a great first step off the edge, although we never got to see it in his injury-shortened rookie season. His teammates rave about him. I'm intrigued to see what he's learned in a year in the system and what kind of impact he can make in his first action in the big leagues. Throw a wild card like Vince Redd into the mix and I think you have the names who'll be battling for playing time on the outside. It's a youth movement. There may be some growing pains along the way, but Bill Belichick seems to be willing to endure those and must see an upside in the group that's worth working toward. Time will tell if he's right.
Andy Hart

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