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Patriots Replay Fri Aug 07 - 12:00 AM | Sun Aug 09 - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: Our streak continues

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]()Why is P.K. Sam wearing #14? I thought that was Steve Grogan's number and had been retired.*Ray Bendici*

While Grogan is a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, his No. 14 is not retired by the team. (The only numbers that are retired are 20, 40, 57, 73, 78, 79 and 89.) Sam, who is now on injured reserve, does wear No. 14.
Andy Hart

The release of the injury and extent of it pertaining to Ty Law by his agents was tantamount to treason. Now the teams the Patriots will be facing over the next six or so weeks will not even have to spend a minute preparing for Ty Law. If I had a decision making position with the New England Patriots, I would never draft an athlete represented by either Poston brother. May this be an 86-year jinx on their house. What were they thinking of or is that their problem, that they do not think? Was this payback for the team not renegotiating Mr. Law's contract this past summer, when he acted like a petulant teen who couldn't have his way?
Lee Cote

Lee, I too found the Poston's open stance about the injury in the media to be interesting. While I don't believe they owe anything to any team or by any means should feel they have to play by a certain head coach's rules, I think there may have been more at play here. This was an opportunity to stick it to the Patriots and their generally tight lips when it comes to injury. Obviously there is no way to prove that this was the motivation, especially since the Postons don't return my phone calls, but it does seem a little fishy. And I agree with you, I would never draft a player represented by the Postons. All you are doing is setting yourself up for unrealistic contract proposals and ugly negotiations.
Andy Hart

Please get this to who you think needs to see it. I am a subscriber (PFW) and I am a HUGE PATS fan in NY surrounded by 'pathetically disillusioned' Jet fans. This is an email I sent to Rich Cimini at the New York Daily NewsSubject: Your "Jersey" Jet articleMr. C, In regards to your article "Aim high with Pats vulnerable" 11/04/04 page 80, get real. As a N.E. Patriot fan (since the Jets left!) I can tell you your 6th paragraph in the article is wrong. NO, the aura is not shattered. For gosh sakes, the PATS were minus Corey Dillon. Let's take away Curtis Martin and put the Jets up against the Steelers. What's that I envision? Steelers 41 Jets 16 ? Yes, that's it. The Pats were also without Ty Law and Deion Branch. The game was still respectably close and if all the starters were in, you could minus 10 pts from the Steelers and add 10 to the Pats. That would give the Pats a 30-24 win over the Steelers. I'll write you again when the Pats and Steelers face off for the AFC and the "JERSEY" Jets go into their December curse and finish their usual 8-8. JETS = Just End The Season. PATS = Patriots At The Super Bowl RegardsDavid Segarra

I tried to read the story, but since it is old I could not get to it without paying and there was no way I was doing that. But based on your comments I can gather the premise of the piece. As much as you will hate this, I sort of agree with it. I have always said I thought the Patriots would become a more beatable team once the streak ended. And while Sunday's win in St. Louis sort of pooh-poohs that, I still believe it. I call it the Mike Tyson Theory. When Tyson was on top in his early days, he was scary. Whether they wanted to believe it or not every opponent feared Tyson to some degree. That's how I looked at the Patriots over the last year. Teams expected New England to win games late and make the plays at the critical times to do so. And that's what they did. Now, I think teams will come into games against New England with a better mindset and therefore a greater chance to win. This doesn't mean every team can beat the Patriots, but I think the ones that have the talent now have a better chance to get it done. But only time will tell.
Andy Hart

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]()What do you think about last year's injuries during the beginning of the season and throughout the season without starters, and continuing to win games with lesser-known players, compared to this season? Is there really a difference?*Warren Cassador*

Yes there is a difference and that is Ty Law. While New England lost plenty of players to injury last season, including key guys like Ted Washington and Rosevelt Colvin, Law's loss is potentially more costly. Law is arguably the best player at his position in the NFL. He's a shut down, cover corner who can take away an opponent's top receiver on a weekly basis. He makes life easier on the rest of the defense and on the coaches putting together the game plan. I compare losing Law to what the offense would have to overcome if it lost Tom Brady. Law is that important. Is it something the team can't overcome? No. But it will be interesting to watch and if the win in St. Louis is any indication then you never know who will step up or how that will unfold as the team does what it can to get past the 2004 version of the injury epidemic.
Andy Hart

I was wondering how the team was handling the week after suffering their first regular season loss in over a year? The team was plagued by injuries last year and still managed a run to the Super Bowl. Has there been talk of the team overcoming adversity again this year? This appears to be the deepest team the Patriots have ever assembled and I believe that the reserves will step up and fill the voids the same way that Randall Gay has. Thank you and I appreciate your comments.
Richard Chartrand

The team said and did all the right things last week leading up to the bounce back win over the Rams. From the coaches to the players this team has confidence every week, regardless of what potential pitfalls lay ahead. They have been through it all from injuries to contract disputes, and everything in between. I made the mistake of underestimating the team's chances heading into St. Louis and picked against them. I thought it was a terrible matchup for them at this time. I was wrong and don't think I will underestimate them again.
Andy Hart

I have a question actually. I am from the Boston area and now live in Virginia Beach, VA. I cannot find a "Patriot's Backers Club" or something like one in my area. Is there one that you know of? If not, what exactly needs to be done to start one of my own? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, and Go Pats!Hal Coyle

Hal I post this to put our wonderful Ask PFW readers to use. If we get any responses they will be posted in the coming weeks. Good luck. At the very least you may read emails from people in a similar situation in the near future.
Andy Hart

I have been a patriot fan since the days of Jim Plunkett. And growing up in Los Angeles that wasn't easy. I have also had over 20 operations on my legs. I connected my leg to a computer so it could help my bones heal. Which they finally did. It was called E B I a bone stimulator. You had to be a basket case to get it and it still had a 100% success rate at the time I was put on it. Could you please pass this along to Law's DR. so as to speed up the healing process.Mark Fitzgerald

In posting this email I consider it passed along. Additionally, I do know that Law's agents have recommended that he receive "cold laser" or low-level laser treatments on his foot. Like the machine you are recommending, these treatments also work to expedited the healing process and have helped on a number of injuries to New England players in recent years, including on David Givens' hamstring in the days leading up to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Andy Hart

I saw another fan commented on the absence of Carmina Burana and wanted to echo her sentiments. I couldn't wait to see the video on opening night but thought it wasn't part of the program because of everything else that was going on. I am surprised and disappointed and would like to see it back. I'll be there on 11/14 and again on 12/12....please pass this along. Thanks.Kim Amer

I already passed it along to the proper authorities, but I figured if I posted it that maybe other people with similar feelings would chime in. You never know, there is power in numbers. Let your voices be heard.
Andy Hart

Now that Law is likely out until the playoffs is time to panic or am I just worrying to much? Also do you think the Pats will pick anybody up in free agency to replace Law?
Robert Kilpatrick

As a Patriots fan, and a disciple of the Bill Belichick system, you should know that it is never time to panic. It's just about one game at a time. Guys have stepped up before and based on what they did last week in St. Louis, in an absolute awful matchup for a team with a banged up secondary, they will continue to do so. It doesn't look like they will sign a free agent as they filled that void with Earthwind Moreland. And Tyrone Poole should be back in a couple of weeks to bolster what is currently a skeleton unit. I personally think the team passed one of the toughest tests, aside from maybe a coming matchup in Kansas City, and should be relatively confident in overcoming the injuries in the coming weeks.
Andy Hart

With the injuries that hit the Pats in the secondary shouldn't BB change from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense? It should help against the run and also put some more pressure on the Quarterbacks and give the secondary some breathing space with all the injuries they have back there. I'm surprised they haven't brought Otis Smith back for insurance purposes and some experience too.
Rob French

First of all, I think O-T-I-S is D-O-N-E, with no disrespect meant to a guy that was a key contributor over his years here. But that time has come and gone. I don't believe that Belichick should go to more 4-3 looks. The 3-4 allows him to have an extra linebacker on the field that can either rush the passer or drop into coverage to help the secondary out. Last week the team did a good job of getting to the quarterback with, on many occasions, just three rushers and no blitzing. If they can do that on a regular basis it takes a huge load off the shoulders of the guys who are filling in right now in the secondary.
Andy Hart

Hi guys, thanks for doing such a great job. We don't get to see much of the Pats over here which is too bad. We get a lot of games on Fox and if I understand correctly, most of the Pats games are televised over another network. Anyway, my question is on the trade that got Belichick to New England. Who was the player taken by the Jets(?) in exchange for Bill Belichick? Thanks a lot.
Chris Yao, Philippines

New England gave up a package of three picks (a first, a fourth and a seventh) to acquire Bill Belichick prior to the 2000 season. The Jets took the 16th overall pick in the 2000 draft they received from New England and sent it to the San Francisco 49ers along with a second round pick to move up to the 12th overall pick. The team then selected Tennessee defensive end Shaun Ellis. The fourth and seventh round picks came in the 2001 draft where New York selected Georgia cornerback Jamie Henderson with the 101st pick and Iowa St. defensive tackle James Reed with the 206th pick.
Andy Hart

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]()We shouldn't ponder whether or not Ty Law or Corey Dillon are injured and whether they are going to play this week in St. Louis or not. We don't have a one two or 3 man team, we have a team. Sure I would like to see them play this week but the thing is we can't rely on just 2 or 3 players, it takes a team to go out and win a game. We were plagued by injuries before and we made good comebacks. What makes this team so great is we can win big and we can lose big. Lets stop making ourselves crazy because we lost to the Steelers and that we had players injured, sure it was frustrating and we didn't play a good ball game but it happens and I know we'll comeback strong. Just my 2 cents. PS: As a matter of fact I predict this weeks game score to be 13-7 Pats with 2 field goals and a TD and a lone TD by St. Louis...........Go Pats. Thanks.*Donald Stratton*

This email was sent long before the Rams game and I have to give Donald credit for predicting his team to bounce back. They did just that and put together one of the most impressive team wins I have seen in a long time. While I still think the team has key contributors like Brady, Dillon, Law and others that I think are key to the recent success, you can't argue with what the team has done in the face of adversity over the last three years. I still have my doubts, but I am really starting to believe that regardless of who Belichick sends out there that this team can have success.
Andy Hart

Although the loss of both starting corners will no doubt hurt the short term, does it not bode well for later in the season and next year to have Asante Samuel (sp) and Randall Gay getting the game experience now? Odds are that Law and Poole will not be starting here next year anyway, so if the team can persevere through the next few games and still make the playoffs, this could end up being a silver lining, yes? Oh, and thanks for this forum. I have been a Pats fan since the late seventies. Until the advent of the net, there was no convenient way to get any info on the team. I seldom knew who the backup QB, etc. was until I saw a rare national TV game.
Phil Troutman

Nothing like some good old spin and optimism for a change here in New England. I mean first the Red Sox win the World Series and now New England sports fans are looking at things in a positive light. What's next? But there is definitely truth in this theory. If Samuel, Gay and company can get through this tough time, the experience they gain should be a big lift to the team's depth in the future. And if this is Law's last year in this uniform the more guys you have ready to battle for his job the better you are for the future.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, I have a trivia question but I don't know the answer. The question is this. What team has won the most games in its history? And what team is the winningest team over its history? Thanks and keep up the good work.
Steven Selvaggio

Steven, I assume you are talking about wins since the NFL merger in 1970, the modern era. If that is the case, the Miami Dolphins lead the way with 335 wins from 1970 to 2004. Miami also has the best winning percentage at .636.
Andy Hart

Did the Pats throw to Daniel Graham or Christian Fauria even once in the Rams game and if not, why not? Are they both injured, out of favor with BB, forgotten in the game plan or just not open? Also, did either factor at all in the loss to the Steelers?
Otis Hill

No tight end has caught a pass in the last two games. I think the biggest reason that neither Graham nor Fauria has been a factor in the passing game is the fact that they have been put to use in blocking. With Tom Ashworth now gone for the season, and Matt Light out in the Steelers game, the tight ends have been called upon to help fill-in tackles Brandon Gorin and Stephen Neal. Both tight ends are solid blockers, and for the last two weeks their contributions to the offense have been blocking for the ground game and protecting Tom Brady so that he has time to find other wide receivers in the passing game. It isn't as glamorous as catching touchdown passes, but it can be every bit as important to winning football especially with the offensive line shakeups the Patriots have been going through.
Andy Hart

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]()Am I correct in thinking that there has never been a special team player elected to the NFL HOF? Do you think that #4 has a shot if he continues at this pace considering that he has two Super Bowl winning kicks, the greatest kick in NFL history (2001 Oakland game) and a track record of coming through in the clutch like all other hall of famers?*Tom*

Right now, kicker Jan Stenerud is the only special teams player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame based solely on his special teams play. I do think that Adam Vinatieri has a shot at it, but it is obviously a long one. I think some of the things you point out make him a notable candidate and he has the statistics to go along with those highlights. If he can remain consistent through the end of his career I think he has as good a shot as any kicker. The one thing that may hurt him is that guys like Jason Elam are also putting up the same kinds of numbers in the same era and it's not like they are going to start putting in a ton of kickers all at once.
Andy Hart

Bethel Johnson had a nice return on a kickoff early in the fourth quarter out close to midfield. At the end of the play, a flag was thrown near the spot of the tackle. Then the refs called a block in the back penalty and halfway distance to the goal. Why did we get pushed back so far? Shouldn't it just be ten yards from the penalty?John Mayfield

The illegal block penalty is a 10-yard penalty and that is how it was recorded. The thing you are confusing is that is a penalty from the spot of the foul, not the end of the return. Je'Rod Cherry's foul took place at the 20-yard line. So despite the fact that the return finished at the 38-yard line, the Patriots ended up with the ball on their own 10 after the penalty.
Andy Hart

I was at the game on Sunday, and I thought it was exciting to see the way the team played. Pretty much everybody in the stadium was thrown off by the FG fake. Most of the people sitting around me said they didn't even see it [fortunately I did.] My question is this: I heard when Marquise Hill was drafted that the Patriots had their hands on a valuable prospect. It was said that if he had stayed in college for another year he would have been a top five pick in the first round. It appears that the Patriots are willing to bring him along at his pace. Do you see anything in practices that indicates they are "bringing him along", and he is willing to watch and learn at a position of Patriots depth? Or has Hill been inactive for games because he simply is not performing to a level to satisfy the coaches [and is therefore more of a commentary on his abilities]? Thanks guys; you are a lifeline to the displaced fans.Jason Antin

First off, the media is not allowed to attend practice during the season so I have no inside info for you. I can tell you that when asked about Hill Belichick hasn't said anything that would lead one to believe he is unhappy with the rookie's progress. I think most people understand that he was drafted as a bit of a project with long-term contributions in mind. He plays on a defensive line that is filled with young contributors and that is a big reason why he hasn't been on the field yet. Hill says all the right things about working hard and learning from those around him. So I think it is way too early to get down on the rookie and we will have to wait and see if New England's willingness to wait for his potential to take hold pays off in the long run.
Andy Hart

Yes I know that the Pats defense was riddled with injuries yesterday, but we hardly ever blitzed the Rams at all. Especially on that 4th and 9 play late in the third quarter. How do you let Marc Bulger just sit back there and pick you apart? I have noticed this the last few weeks. We need more pressure on the QB! Most QBs wilt under the blitz....not everybody is Tom Brady you know!Chris Wheeler

Pick you apart? The Patriots won by 18 points with a depleted secondary matched up against what is supposed to be one of the NFL's most productive offenses. How can you question the way the team defended Bulger and the Rams? In fact the ability to pressure the passer with just three- and four-man rushes was the key to the game. That left more guys in coverage and took the heat off of New England's inexperienced corners. Sorry to be harsh here, but under the circumstances if you can't be happy with the Patriots defensive effort and win in St. Louis then I don't think you will ever be happy. Thank you?
Andy Hart

I am a little tired of hearing how the Steelers "dominated" us last Sunday. Yes, they did run well in the third quarter to control the clock...But the Pats gave them that game with some bad turnovers in the first quarter. It's a lot easier for the defense to blitz us all day when the you are up 21-3 so early, and we have no Corey Dillon to give them some semblance of a running game. Even with all the obstacles the Pats faced, they still moved the ball up and down the field on them. Even Bill Cowher said at halftime that they had to slow Brady down. I really hope that we get to play the Steelers at home in the playoffs so we can pound them into the ground and shut them up. Respect the champs until they relinquish their crown. Imagine how we could play with all our injured players back.Jay Marks

While injuries and turnovers were a factor in Pittsburgh, I think the Patriots were beaten physically on both sides of the ball like I haven't seen in a couple years. The Steelers controlled the line of scrimmage and just did everything they needed to do. I think having Dillon and not turning the ball over would have made a difference, but I think the result would have been the same in the end. But that doesn't necessarily mean I think the Steelers are the better team. I still think the Patriots can say that and would probably win in a playoff matchup. Let's just hope we get to see that happen because I think it would be another entertaining addition to the playoff history between the two franchises.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, just a follow-up on the Ty Law situation commented on in you last Ask PFW. It was noticed by more than just the guy who wrote in about the Ty/BB almost snub of congrats on the pick during the Seattle game. But, as you say, it doesn't matter as they are professionals. On a positive note though, How about Randall Gay and Earthwind Moreland!!!! Nice job all things considered don'tcha think!!! Great column as always guys and keep up the good work.
Joe Lemery

A nice job indeed. Some of my colleagues here still argue with me, but I think Gay has shown the ability to play at the NFL level. The undrafted rookie free agent has been making plays since he stepped on the practice field last spring. I thought Earthwind Moreland had a solid game too. As far as the Ty thing goes I haven't seen the video on it so I really can't comment. But I do agree with the fact that they are both professionals. They don't have to like each other, the just have to like to winning championships with each other. Winning solves a lot of problems.
Andy Hart

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