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Ask PFW: Offseason preparation

Patriots Football Weekly has once again answered your questions about the upcoming draft and free agency.

Since the sports writers are always saying the Pats need a big receiver, I wanted to know if there was any chance of the Pats getting Terrell Owens? If so do you think Brady would change his concept of spreading the ball around to throwing to a single receiver 90 to 110 times a year?
Kenny Muise
Gloucester, Mass.

I don't think there is any chance the Patriots pay the king's ransom Terrell Owens will be looking for and will get, especially given the headaches he can provide. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that the Patriots refuse to sign any players that don't fit their perceived personality mold, but I just don't think Owens would fit here when the whole package is considered – the price tag being the obvious deterrent. While Owens is a difference maker, the Patriots won two Super Bowls without such a player much the way the New York Giants teams with which Bill Belichick was affiliated won without such a receiver. Do names like Lionel Manuel and Stephen Baker ring a bell? Tom Brady spreads the ball around because that's what the system calls for. He'll throw it to one guy if he has to. Troy Brown caught 101 passes in 2001 and 97 in 2002, almost all from Brady. This past year, the Patriots may not have had an Owens, but they had solid receivers across the board, which made them hard to defend when they spread the field.
Bryan Morry

Please help me figure this out! What is a free kick?!?!? I'm pretty sure that it can only take place at the end of the half, and if successful, results in points. Bill Belichick said he was considering one at the end of the season finale against Miami in 2002. But what is it?!?! And when was the last time it was done successfully? I can't find the answer anywhere.
Joe Comforti
Westerly, R.I.

I've consulted the rulebook on this and there is a bunch of gibberish. First of all, the most obvious example of a free kick is when the ball is put in play after a safety. In that instance it is usually a punted ball from the team's 20-yard line and no tee may be used. What you are referring to at the end of the 2002 Miami game is a fair-catch kick. After a fair catch, the receiving team may elect to utilize a fair-catch kick, which is a drop kick or place kick without a tee that must be made from or behind the spot of the catch. The team obviously can also use a traditional snap from scrimmage to put the ball in play. Now, if time expires during the kick and the kick receiver signals for a fair catch, the receiving team does not get a snap from scrimmage, but is able to utilize a fair-catch kick. In that game, the Dolphins lined up to punt with 4 seconds left from their own 14-yard line, which meant the punter was actually kicking from back near his goal line. The Patriots used Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk back to receive, knowing that if they fair caught the punt on Miami's side of the field, they would have the opportunity to attempt a fair-catch kick, which in that instance, would have been a place kick to attempt a game-winning field goal. The punt ended up being very short and neither Brown nor Faulk were able to catch it, which meant time expired. Belichick, in speaking about the attempt, referred to the impending kick as a free kick, but it really would have fallen under the category of fair-catch kick. It can be used at the end of either half. I hope that helps.
Bryan Morry

The Raiders just signed Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. Earlier, they had asked permission of the Ravens to interview Rex Ryan, Rob's brother, but the Ravens would not permit it. I like that the Patriots allow their coaching staff to better themselves, even when it causes the team to lose a great coach. The Ravens (and other teams that deny permission to interview for coordinator jobs) get to keep their staffs, but I wonder if this approach is a good long-term approach. Do you think that talented young coaches shy away from teams like the Ravens and favor teams like the Pats, or do you think they will sign with anyone to get a foot in the door?
Tom Sweeney
Portsmouth, N.H.

I don't think it's a good practice to deny your assistants a chance to further their coaching career given that all coaches are in that boat at some point if they are good and have the opportunity to advance. I do not know the details of the Ravens denial so I can't comment specifically on that situation. For all I know, Rex Ryan just signed a 50-year extension that made him the highest paid assistant coach in history. My point is that there are certainly circumstances when it might be appropriate for a team to deny permission, although I find it hard to believe those circumstances could exist in February since there is no more convenient time for coaching changes. If a coaching candidate has options, I would think he might go to a team that would provide the opportunity for advancement either within or outside, but if a team that doesn't provide that as freely is the only option, he'd likely take the job.
Bryan Morry

How long has the Vince Lombardi trophy had its current form and name? I assume when the Packers won Super Bowl I, the then commissioner did not hand Vince Lombardi the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Newark, Del.

The trophy was originally designed in 1967 by former Tiffany & Co. Vice President Oscar Riedener, who sketched its basic design during a meeting with then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle. In 1970, it was re-named for Vince Lombardi.
Bryan Morry

I go to the University of Michigan (we all love you here Tom and Ty), and I was just wondering whether or not the Patriots are looking to draft RB Chris Perry. I have watched him play for the past two seasons, and he just seems like he would be a perfect fit in our system: a strong powerful runner, with some speed, that can catch balls very well. He just seems like a combination of Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk. So are the Pats looking at him? Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Natick, Mass.

Since Chris Perry is projected as a possible late-first, but more likely a second round pick, I would have to say he is definitely on the Patriots radar screen given their need to find a running back or two. I'm leery of Perry's speed, but he will definitely be a guy that gets attention around here as the draft nears.
Bryan Morry

How is Rodney Harrison? I have not seen any update on his injury.
Christine Barbera
Hubbardstown, Mass.

Rodney had surgery on his broken arm the day of the Boston Super Bowl parade. That's all we know about his situation. I would imagine he will be ready for training camp, but will spend much of the offseason program rehabbing.
Bryan Morry

I heard that Corey Dillon was going to become a free agent this year, and that the Patriots had talk about picking him up. Is that true?
Mark Barnes
Springfield, Mass.

Mark, I have not heard any such talk, but he is certainly a guy worth talking to given his skill level. The Patriots would have to do their homework on him and spend some time sitting with him for an extensive interview, but they just don't go by reputation. If they did that, Bryan Cox would never have played here. People thought he was some out-of-control malcontent when he signed with the Jets and the Patriots, but he provided solid leadership to a Patriots team that was in desperate need of it. Don't believe everything you hear or read. I don't rule Dillon out, but if he is indeed a bad seed, you won't see him here.
Bryan Morry

Are the Patriots looking to draft a running back with one of their first round picks? If so, Who would it be?
Gloucester, Mass.

A very popular question Mike. I would say the Patriots will look long and hard at running backs on Day One of the draft, but they won't reach to take one. If they don't trade up to get one of the top two backs, they won't take one at 21 just to take one if the guy is rated as a second round pick. As of now, I would say they will be looking for the best available running back they can get their hands on. Don't be surprised if they trade up into the top 10 this year because no one expects them to. They are unpredictable.
Bryan Morry

Do you think Ty Law deserves to be the highest paid corner in the league. I know he was hyped by all the commentators who believe the Pats should pay up but I think his overachieving play was a result of a good pass rush, and some talent in the secondary. I think the Pats would be better off if they traded him and traded up for the safety out of Miami. I believe Wilson or Samuel are ready to compete for the starting role.
Greensboro, N.C.

I disagree with you. I don't know if Law should be the highest paid corner, but he should certainly be one of the highest paid. Any corner benefits from a good pass rush just as a pass rush benefits from good coverage. Law is tremendous. He stays with speedy receivers like Santana Moss and he can get physical with bigger receivers as well. He has excellent ball skills and his shutdown ability was obvious in the Super Bowl when the Panthers barely threw the ball in his direction. He shut down Marvin Harrison in the AFC Championship game. In fact he had as many catches for more yards than Peyton Manning's favorite target. Ty will get paid here or somewhere else. It will be here for at least one more year.
Bryan Morry

I recently saw Ty Law at the Pro Bowl giving an interview with a couple of his teammates. Ty was wearing a Buffalo Bills' shirt. Does this get him in any trouble with the team? As a life long Pats fan I take it as an insult. Please let him know my thoughts.
Rick B.
Tustin, Calif.

Many people asked about this and I will address it once. This is no big deal. Players go to Hawaii with all sorts of gear or swag to trade with other players. Be it helmets, jerseys, t-shirts, hats, whatever. Perhaps his donning the Bills shirt had something to do with his best friend being a member of that team, but so what? If you saw the other players, they all had gear on from other teams too. It's a common practice so don't let it bother you.
Bryan Morry

A quick question about preseason training camps for the Pats. I remember going to practices in the late 60s/early 70s (maybe) at UMASS in Amherst. Could you tell me what years the Pats practiced there?Thanks.

West Springfield, Mass.

They practiced there in 1960 and from 1969-1975. I believe in between those years they practiced at Phillips Academy in Andover. I'm not 100 percent sure but I checked with a couple people who believe that to be the case. There may be a rogue year or two where they were back in Amherst.
Bryan Morry

I wanted to get your opinion on the QB hierarchy. With Davey going to Europe and Huard probably not coming back, looks like all we have is the unproven Kingsbury behind Brady. I don't want to see the Patriots falter next year due to lack of quality QB depth like Denver did this year and Miami last, so what are your thoughts on picking on one of the available veteran QBs out there? Some that come to mind are Shaun King, Jeff Blake, and Jim Miller. Thanks.
Anaheim, Calif.

Davey is still under contract to the Patriots, but the Patriots will check free agency for a veteran to compete for the backup job. Perhaps Shane Matthews, Doug Johnson and maybe Blake. Johnson would provide a younger guy while the others have been around the block. If Huard shops around and doesn't find much, he could be back, although that's highly doubtful. Kingsbury may surprise this summer.
Bryan Morry

Couple of questions. Do you think Tom Brady was robbed a spot in the Pro Bowl? And if we have so many draft picks, why don't we pick up a young and upcoming running back like DeShaun Foster from the Panthers. Trade a pick or two and a player and get a guy like him. Also we need a backup if Brady gets hurt. I don't think any of the ones we have now are qualified. What is your take on this?
Joseph Souto
Bristol, R.I.

I don't think Brady was robbed because that's a team selected by stats and Brady's stats did not wow the voters. He should have been in the Pro Bowl, but I don't think it's that big a deal. He might, but I don't. I'm sure he'll take Super Bowl MVP over Pro Bowl any day. The Patriots could certainly trade for a young back by utilizing a draft pick, but if they were to do that, the player's contract status would be a factor. How would he fit into the Patriots financial situation? Would the Patriots have to agree to an extension with the player before making the deal and would the team for which he currently works be willing to allow the player to negotiate with New England? All of those are questions but trading for a back is certainly and going that route is certainly a possibility. Don't be surprised if Kliff Kingsbury emerges as a capable backup QB. Davey will have to perform well in Europe or he might be in trouble here. I think the Patriots will also try to sign a veteran and maybe even draft another passer.
Bryan Morry

After having a reasonably good season as a rookie. What are your feelings about Dan Klecko being inactive for the Super Bowl?
Stratford, Conn.

I think Dan will be a good player, but he's still trying to find a home. The Patriots will use his versatility, but he needs to have a position to hang his hat on and it may ultimately be as an inside linebacker. I don't think he was very productive late in the year and I was not surprised by the decision to keep him inactive the last two weeks, especially in the Super Bowl against a team the Patriots expected to pound the ball at their defensive front. But he is a good football player and he should improve with an offseason here.
Bryan Morry

Do you think it was wise to have Tom Brady be the 2nd MVP in three years? Adam Vinatieri has won it for us last time, and he did it again, why wasn't he MVP?
Rebecca Kolenych
East Hardwick, Vt.

The Super Bowl MVP from two years ago has no impact on the MVP this year. Tom Brady was the hands-down MVP this year. That was a no-brainer even though guys like Mike Vrabel and Deion Branch had big games as well. Now two years ago, there are arguments to be made that either Adam, Ty Law or Otis Smith were more deserving than Brady, who won it basically for engineering the game-winning drive – no small feat mind you. Two years ago, I might have voted for Vinatieri. This year, it was Brady all the way. In a game where the defense faltered (a rarity), Brady threw the team on his back.
Bryan Morry

Do you think the Patriots will release a big player because of the salary cap?
Unionville, Conn.

That's a great question. Troy Brown's cap number jumps to around $4.6 million, Roman Phifer to $3.2 million, Mike Vrabel to $3.6 million, David Patten to $1.2 million and Christian Fauria to $1.2 million. I don't think New England wants to part with any of those players, but they could all be candidates for re-structuring or release. Some, if not all, could play for those assigned amounts, but it's doubtful that all will. Inevitably, a loyal player of this ilk will be let go and it won't be pretty. But it is the business side of the game. These guys have all been good players and surely feel they deserve their raises, but caponomics rule in the NFL.
Bryan Morry

With 7 draft picks in the first 4 rounds will the Patriots select a big running back or just the best athlete available?
James Gauthier
Webster, Mass.

I think they will look for the best athletes that fill their needs, one of which is obviously a running back. So yes to both questions. I don't think they will reach and pick a running back just to pick one, but they will come away with one on the first day. I think they'll trade up to get one of the top two runners.
Bryan Morry

Where do the Pats store their two Vince Lombardi Trophies? Are they on display in a museum or something?
Moosup, Conn.

They are on display in the stadium's Trophy Room – a room the owner uses to entertain on game day. It is not open to the public.
Bryan Morry

Is the team changing the surface at Gillette Stadium from grass to turf in 2004?
David MacDonald
Durham, N.C.

Bryan Morry

Could New England be looking at Eagles RB Duce Staley? It would be an improvement to the running game.
Carver, Mass.

Staley is a good runner and a solid receiver, which would make him a good fit in New England. I think there could be interest, but I think New England will try to do better than Staley. They could do a lot worse though. I would have to say they will investigate Staley's demands and watch plenty of tape on him.
Bryan Morry

Hi guys, what a great year it's been for Patriots football. I am hard pressed to find a more exciting year to watch Patriots football. My question is, could you please explain the salary cap to me. It seems to me like its only purpose is to keep good players from staying in one place too long. I don't understand the salary cap, and how it supposed to help football. Thanks
Lebanon, Maine

I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible since the cap is what makes the league financially sound and would take too much space to fully explain in detail. But the cap is the driving force behind maintaining the league's competitive balance. All 32 teams share revenues equally and then pay the players 64.75 percent of those revenues. That's how the cap is determined Each team has the same money to spend, which keeps the playing field even. How they choose they to allocate the money is up the teams and sometimes they structure contracts in a way where a player receives a big salary in the later years of the deal. That money is not guaranteed, however, since only the signing bonus is guaranteed. When those salaries become too high, the team ends up releasing veteran players, which is an unfortunate byproduct of the system. But the cap is what keeps the league financially healthy. It will be about $78.1 million next season.
Bryan Morry

I was wondering when dates on the Patriots schedule where going to be posted to the teams they're going to play next year?
Paul Pierce
Burlington, Mass.

The schedule will be released late March or early April. The opponents for 2004-2009 can be found on
Bryan Morry

I was wondering if you agree with my belief that the Patriots need a big possession type receiver to go along with the little speed burners? I think this would free up those guys to get downfield and put their speed to better use.
North Attleboro

I think it would be nice to have, but I don't think it's necessary. If they can get a rookie with size that would be great, but I wouldn't go out and invest a ton of money in a guy simply because he brings size to the table. As I said, it would be nice for them to add a bigger receiver, but they won two Super Bowls without one so I wouldn't classify it as a need.
Bryan Morry

Could you please explain how a QB rating is calculated.
Duncan Komenda
Leighton Buzzard
United Kingdom

It actually is a passer rating not a quarterback rating. It doesn't rate the quarterback's play, but simply his passing statistics, which are not one in the same. I lifted this off
The NFL rates its passers for statistical purposes against a fixed performance standard based on statistical achievements of all qualified pro passers since 1960. The current system replaced one that rated passers in relation to their position in a total group based on various criteria.
The current system, which was adopted in 1973, removes inequities that existed in the former method and, at the same time, provides a means of comparing passing performances from one season to the next.
It is important to remember that the system is used to rate passers, not quarterbacks. Statistics do not reflect leadership, play-calling, and other intangible factors that go into making a successful professional quarterback.
Four categories are used as a basis for compiling a rating:
• Percentage of completions per attempt
• Average yards gained per attempt
• Percentage of touchdown passes per attempt
• Percentage of interceptions per attempt
The average standard, is 1.000. The bottom is .000. To earn a 2.000 rating, a passer must perform at exceptional levels, i.e., 70 percent in completions, 10 percent in touchdowns, 1.5 percent in interceptions, and 11 yards average gain per pass attempt. The maximum a passer can receive in any category is 2.375.
For example, to gain a 2.375 in completion percentage, a passer would have to complete 77.5 percent of his passes. The NFL record is 70.55 by Ken Anderson (Cincinnati, 1982).
To earn a 2.375 in percentage of touchdowns, a passer would have to achieve a percentage of 11.9. The record is 13.9 by Sid Luckman (Chicago, 1943).
To gain 2.375 in percentage of interceptions, a passer would have to go the entire season without an interception. The 2.375 figure in average yards is 12.50, compared with the NFL record of 11.17 by Tommy O'Connell (Cleveland, 1957).
In order to make the rating more understandable, the point rating is then converted into a scale of 100. In rare cases, where statistical performance has been superior, it is possible for a passer to surpass a 100 rating.
For example, take Steve Young's record-setting season in 1994 when he completed 324 of 461 passes for 3,969 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
The four calculations would be:
• Percentage of Completions — 324 of 461 is 70.28 percent. Subtract 30 from the completion percentage (40.28) and multiply the result by 0.05. The result is a point rating of 2.014.
Note: If the result is less than zero (Comp. Pct. less than 30.0), award zero points. If the results are greater than 2.375 (Comp. Pct. greater than 77.5), award 2.375.
• Average Yards Gained Per Attempt — 3,969 yards divided by 461 attempts is 8.61. Subtract three yards from yards-per-attempt (5.61) and multiply the result by 0.25. The result is 1.403.
Note: If the result is less than zero (yards per attempt less than 3.0), award zero points. If the result is greater than 2.375 (yards per attempt greater than 12.5), award 2.375 points.
• Percentage of Touchdown Passes — 35 touchdowns in 461 attempts is 7.59 percent. Multiply the touchdown percentage by 0.2. The result is 1.518.
Note: If the result is greater than 2.375 (touchdown percentage greater than 11.875), award 2.375.
• Percentage of Interceptions — 10 interceptions in 461 attempts is 2.17 percent. Multiply the interception percentage by 0.25 (0.542) and subtract the number from 2.375. The result is 1.833.
Note: If the result is less than zero (interception percentage greater than 9.5), award zero points.
The sum of the four steps is (2.014 1.403 1.518 1.833) 6.768. The sum is then divided by six (1.128) and multiplied by 100. In this case, the result is 112.8. This same formula can be used to determine a passer rating for any player who attempts at least one pass.
Bryan Morry

I was wondering what you thought about the possibility of two westerners come to play for the patriots, Doug Flutie(finishing his career here), and Charlie Garner? Wouldn't Garner fit in with the offensive idea perfectly?
Todd Kibbe
Warren, Mass.

I think Garner would be a nice fit in the Patriots offense. I'm not sure about Flutie. I would imagine he would retire from the NFL when his days in San Diego end. He's a pretty competitive guy. Why would he want to come to a situation where he knows he won't play. Now that he proved he can play in the league, he might be better served to go back to Canada if he still wants to play. He could have some fun up there as a sure starter. I certainly don't know what Doug Flutie wants to do though.
Bryan Morry

Greetings! Why are the Patriots unlikely to bring back Woody? Even though they did a nice job running at a weaker side of Panthers, the OL is not strong enough to create a consistent running game even if they get a better RB. Big Wood is expensive, but he is worth it and needed. Thanks!
Mark S.
Malden, Mass.

The two sides negotiated earlier in the year and could not come to terms. I think the team understands that Woody will see what he is worth on the open market and that it will probably lose him as a result. The Patriots are pretty disciplined financially and when they set a value, they adhere to it. If Woody is asking for more than they feel he's worth, they will let him go. That's the way they operate. Damien is looking for top five center money and will probably get it. I don't think yhe Patriots won't likely give it to him.
Bryan Morry

Is it true that Gino Cappelletti is not a member of football's Hall of Fame? How could he not be a member? He was the leading scorer in the history of the AFL, played multiple positions, and is the only AFL player to play in every game. This man if he's not in, should be. Patriot fans need to start a draft movement to ensure that Gino is a Hall of Famer. This would be a good year to do it because of the attention the team will receive this year.
Tom Dupree
Coventry, R.I.

Any fan may nominate any qualified person who has been connected with pro football in any capacity simply by writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only restriction is that a player must have been retired at least five years before he can be considered. For example, a candidate for the 2004 class must have concluded his career not later than the 1998 season.
To assure that older players will be considered along with the younger breed, the Seniors Committee, made up of nine veteran members of the overall Selection Committee, name two nominees from the pre-1979 era to be included on the final list.
Senior committee members include Dave Goldberg of the Associated Press, Len Shapiro of the Washington Post, Ira Miller of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jerry McGee of the San Diego Union Tribune, Edwin Pope of the Miami Herald, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Jerry Green of the Detroit News and Don Pierson of the Chicago Tribune. Paul Zimmerman just quit his post and Ron Borges holds New England's Hall of Fame vote. You can link to the Hall of Fame website from
Bryan Morry

What is the status of Troy Brown. Is his contract up this year or is he going to around for a while? Hope he is.
John Straub
Huntington, W.Va.

Brown is entering the final year of his contract. This very likely could be his last season in New England. Let's hope he finds a way to stick around beyond this year because he is fun to watch play and is an inspiration for kids who are told what they can't do. This guy was an eighth round draft pick and was released. He worked hard to become a very productive offensive player so let's hope he finishes his career in a Patriots uniform.
Bryan Morry

Do you think the patriots will go after Maurice Clarett if he is eligible?
South Hadley, Mass.

I think they will certainly speak with Clarett and investigate him thoroughly. I don't know what that work will turn up, but he will not be removed from the Patriots draft board. If his spotty background has any effect, it will lower his place on the board. I don't think the Patriots would consider using a first round pick on him.
Bryan Morry

Would the Pats be interested in signing Champ Bailey if they could? By doing this they would get a much younger shut down corner for around the same money. Also they would be able to get some pretty good draft picks for Ty Law. Don't get me wrong Ty's great but Champ has a lot of great years ahead of him as he is much younger.
John R.
Haverhill, Mass.

This would not be easy. First, they would have to get someone to take Law's contract in a trade, which would cost a team about $10 million against the cap. The Patriots would also have to absorb some dead money on the cap just as if they released the player. They would then have to come up with the signing bonus money for Bailey. It would be possible, but certainly improbable. Plus, Law is a good fit here. He plays the style Bill Belichick likes on the corner – tough and physical.
Bryan Morry

Will The Patriots franchise Damien Woody? He is their best and most versatile offensive linemen.
Travis Simpson
Waltham, Vt.

As a follow-up to the other Woody question, no, I don't think they will franchise him because the franchise number for offensive linemen is $7.021 million and Woody may just sign it and be willing to accept a one-year deal for that amount. That would be a huge cap hit for New England and would represent a risk they cannot afford to take.
Bryan Morry

OK, we have Boston Bruins license plates, Red Sox license plates, when do we get the super bowl winning NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS LICENSE PLATE??? I would show my pride. Thank you.
East Wareham, Mass.

I know the Patriots Community Relations staff has worked with the DMV on this matter. I don't know exactly when such license plates might be commissioned.
Bryan Morry

Do you still hold an autograph and photo day prior to the start of the season? If so, when will you be holding it this year?
Tom Pattiselanno
Worcester, Mass.

There is no formal autograph day held, but last year after training camp practices, a few players were made available each day in the Fleet Plaza at Gillette Stadium to sign autographs for 15-20 minutes.
Bryan Morry

I have a friend that is as much of a Pats fan as I am and has decided to have a jersey made with Belichick's name on it to honor him for giving us two Super Bowl wins when no other coach has been able to get us any. However, he asked for my assistance in trying to decide what number to put on it. Did Belichick ever play college ball? If so, what was his number? If he didn't play, what number do you think would be most appropriate for the greatest coach in Patriots history?
Jim MacAllister
Quincy, Mass.

Belichick wore number 86 in college at Wesleyan University. But what about putting a 36 on the front and a 38 on the back to represent the two Super Bowls that New England won. Just a thought.
Bryan Morry

What is the overall record of the Patriots against the Dolphins as well as our record against the Dolphins in postseason games
Glenn Orcutt
Tampa, Fla.

Miami leads the all-time series with New England, 45-32. The Patriots are 2-1 against Miami in the playoffs with wins in 1997 and 1985 and a loss in 1982.
Bryan Morry

Why wouldn't a player like Kliff Kingsbury be allocated to the NFL Europe to get experience? Is there only a certain number of players that can be?
Dave Caissie
Marlborough, Mass.

Kliff would be kept around to spend his first full NFL spring in the team's offseason program and to learn the offensive system. That is more important to his development than the actual playing time in a different system. He and Rohan Davey are at different stages of their careers. Since Ro knows the system, he will benefit more from the playing time. But Kliff needs to learn and spend the spring working out with the Patriots staff.
Bryan Morry

After passing by the east clubhouse parking area I notice reserved parking for Tom Brady, Charlie Weis, Bobby Hamilton, Tedy Bruschi etc. How did these people earn these spots and why is it limited to such a small number of spaces.
Ted Leavitt
Providence, R.I.

Those prime parking spots are earned by the players with the best participation in the offseason program.
Bryan Morry

I've been following the NFL for 3 years now, (A good 3 years to be a Patriots fan!) but I still don't understand the college football system and the draft. How do you get in the draft and how do the teams know whom to pick? I live in the UK, so I never get to see any college football, so it's all very complicated. Is there a rating system and the top 200 players go into the draft. I read something about applications and a high court ruling, but I didn't understand it. Any help would be much appreciated.
Tom Barneyby
Swindon, UK

Up until the recent court ruling, a player three years removed from high school was eligible to declare for the NFL draft. Now a player can declare right out of high school if he so chooses. But each team has a scouting department that spends the entire college football season on the road scouting all the seniors playing college football. Then in January, any non-seniors wishing to make themselves draft eligible declare for the draft as well so that the scouts can then go back to do their research on those underclassmen. So each team compiles a detailed scouting report on each player that rates him in several different categories and evaluates his overall play. At the end of that process, the player receives a grade, which can vary greatly from team to team since this work is all done independently of one another. On draft weekend in April, the teams pick players in the reverse order of finish from the previous season based on the grades formulated over the players' college careers, performances in any all-star games and based on individual workouts and interviews as well as medical and background checks.
Bryan Morry

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