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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 16 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 21 - 11:55 AM

Ask PFW Part I: Get well, Rodney

Some early-season concerns gave way to well-wishes for Rodney Harrison anjd the rest of the injured Patriots. After a tough trip to Carolina, the Nation is much more encouraged after watching the latest gutty effort from the Patriots in Pittsburgh.

Is it just me, or do the Patriots seem to have more injuries to the secondary and wide receivers than any other team in the NFL? Do they have more or less contact in practice or is it bad luck?
Sammy B.

While I don't have the official numbers for the rest of the league, I don't think the Patriots have more or less injuries overall compared to other teams. It's possible that wide receiver and defensive backs have taken more hits in New England than on other teams, but I think that's purely coincidence. Last year, the Patriots had tons of defensive backs get injured. But two years ago (2003), when starters were dropping all over the Patriots lineup, Rodney Harrison, Eugene Wilson, Ty Law and Tyrone Poole stayed healthy all year. In fact, once they started playing together in Week 2, they started every game the rest of the way right through the Super Bowl. Of course, Harrison and Wilson got hurt in that game, too, so maybe there is something to your curse!
Paul Perillo

I would like to know what team the Patriots were playing in 2004 that Vinatieri threw a touchdown pass against.Sonia Sweeney

Vinatieri's touchdown pass came on a fake field goal against the Rams in St. Louis. Vinatieri took the snap from Lonie Paxton and tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Troy Brown, who was all alone in the end zone.
Paul Perillo

Did the Pats ever reach a contract extension with Vinatieri or is he locked down under the franchise tag? If so, upon opening day the Pats lost the ability to franchise Seymour... correct? I'd hate to see him leave.

The Patriots have not signed Vinatieri to a long-term deal, but that has nothing to do with the franchise tag in the future. Vinatieri is the team's franchise player in 2005. The Patriots can use that tag anyway they choose in 2006. Only if Vinatieri had signed a long-term contract between the middle of March and July 15 would the team have lost the right to use the designation (for however long the long-term contract would have been). In either case, Richard Seymour will not be a free agent next year anyway and thus would not be eligible to be franchised. His contract runs through 2006.
Paul Perillo

ESPN is reporting that the MRI on Rodney Harrison's knee showed, in addition to his torn ACL, "a torn medial collateral ligament and a torn posterior cruciate ligament." Isn't that the same injury Willis McGahee had? All three? That's very severe. McGahee was 21. Rodney is 32. He might be the toughest guy in the league, but we may have seen the last game of Rodney Harrison's career. A terrible and sad but potentially accurate thought. If that is the case, rather than whine and moan about us not getting a third SB in a row, let's just THANK Mr. Harrison for a fantastic two years, two Super Bowls, a broken arm tackle, an AFC Championship interception touchdown return, and immeasurable hours of hard work. Good luck in referee school, Rodney!
Jason Jarvis

You are correct about Harrison's injury with regard to McGahee. Patriots fans may also recall the plight of running back Robert Edwards, who also tore all the ligament in his knee. What further complicated things in Edwards' case was the resulting nerve damage that effectively ended his career despite his young age. I haven't spoken to Rodney since the injury but I would certainly share the concerns of his coming back from such a serious injury at this advanced stage of his career. I also share your sentiments about being thankful for watching the guy play the last two years. And there's plenty left to watch this season even without him.
Paul Perillo

I like many other Patriot fans I imagine was aghast at that pass interference call on Chad Scott on the 4th and 11 play. I have noticed that on these "jump ball" plays, a lot of flags are being thrown on the defenders this season. I thought that the defender has just as much right to the ball as the receiver. I saw Scott look back and try to make a play on the ball. There was some contact, but Quincy Morgan appeared to push a little himself. I think it's absurd to award a team a first down on a play like this on a 4th and 11 at the end of a game. The offensive team should have to earn it. This is a contact sport.... there is contact on any play on the ball.... from both players. Why does the receiver always seem to get the benefit of the doubt? There are too many bogus calls these days and this one could have cost the Pats a game they desperately needed.Mary Moore

I couldn't disagree more. For an official to call pass interference in that situation it has to be pretty clear-cut and I believe it was. I felt the same way several years ago when a Buffalo defender hit Terry Glenn in the end zone on the final play of the game, which resulted in the Patriots scoring the winning touchdown with no time on the clock. Scott hit Morgan before the ball got there and he impeded the receiver's ability to make a play on the ball. By the way, if he hadn't done that, he would have simply caught the touchdown pass because Scott was beaten on the play. In terms of other Patriots fans agreeing with you … I can say this was the only email we received on the subject, and every person I spoke with after the game all believed the official had no choice but to throw the flag.
Paul Perillo

Man, it looks like that old injury bug has bitten the Pats again and this time it got two valued veteran starters. My question is this: Does anybody have an explanation as to why the Pats for the last three years have had so many injuries? Is it bad luck? Over-aggressive play? Players caught out of position? Poor field conditions? Sub-standard equipment? This is getting ridiculous. Yes, I know there were several other big injuries this week, but the Pats week in and week out have almost 10 players on the injury report...other teams have three or four. Three years in a row takes away the element of coincidence. Why are the Pats dropping like flies?
Jason Tyler

The Patriots don't have any more injuries than other teams. Injury reports are completely bogus. Some teams list every bump and bruise (like the Patriots) and others wouldn't report a broken bone. Just this past week, in the Patriots own division, the Jets lost Chad Pennington for the season and the Bills likewise lose Takeo Spikes. It has nothing to do with poor conditioning or substandard equipment. It's life in the NFL – it's a violent sport played by large men who are paid to hit each other. That's why the average career span in the league is less than four years. Injuries happen to every team.
Paul Perillo

It is time for the few Patriots fans to put to rest the notion that "no one shows respect for the Patriots." After the dismal, sloppy loss to Carolina last Sunday, there is no reason anyone should show respect for the Patriots. As far as I know, nearly everyone picked the Patriots to beat Carolina. Enough of having egg all your face. Don't blame anyone for not picking the Patriots to win with that kind of poor play, which started with poor coaching. The week before, Carolina was beaten bad by the tight end sets yet the Patriots did not employ that type of effective strategy. 10 days to prepare for the game and such a dismal performance? No excuses. Offensive offsides, no mental concentration or discipline. Are there any players with the wee bittest desire to win a game, never mind contending for the Super Bowl in 2006. I did not see any effort from any player who wanted to win a game. After all, they have nothing to prove, they have their money, and they have their rings, what's in it for them anymore?
Phil Cressey

While I agree with your opening statement, you lose me from there, Phil. The Patriots played poorly in Carolina and lost to a pretty good team on the road. But I can assure you that none of it had anything to do with a lack of desire. What's in it for the Patriots this season? Oh, I don't know, how about making NFL history as the only team to ever win three straight Super Bowls. How about going down as the greatest football of all time? You don't think any of these things is attractive to a football player?
Paul Perillo

I've been wondering for a while and I figured you would be the ones to answer it. Since I first started really following the Pats in '93, there are a few jersey numbers that I can never recall any player wearing. Among them are 20, 57, and 89. My best guess is they are numbers that have been retired. Is that right and if so, who wore the numbers? If I'm wrong, who were the last players to wear those numbers and when? Tippett, Morgan, and Hannah are three names that come to mind. Thanks for your time and input guys
Joel Lindrgen

Those three numbers are retired – wide receiver/kicker Gino Cappelletti wore No. 20 (1960-70), linebacker Steve Nelson wore No. 57 (1974-87) and defensive end Bob Dee wore No. 89 (1960-67).
Paul Perillo

Last week on ASK PFW someone said, "I want to urge every single Pats fan who attends the games to step up for their team and bring back some of that ol' Foxboro Stadium feeling." Does he want me to vomit on the person seated in front of me, urinate in a corner of the concourse, and pick a fight with a random fan? Or try to squinch my butt onto a 15 in wide piece of aluminum bench? Those are my memories of the "grandeur" of the old Stadium. ps Love the newspaper. It came early this week! Thanks.
Tom Sweeney

Even though you didn't ask a question, I felt compelled to include this because of the enjoyment it brought me. Good stuff, Tom.
Paul Perillo

Hi, I didn't see this question posted earlier. Why were the Pats wearing their blue shirts (home uniforms) in the Carolina game on Sunday, Sept 18, 2005? Shouldn't they have been in white or gray? Did the home team (Panthers) have first choice? Is it due to the fact the Pats having two away games in a row? Did anyone else notice or just me?

The home team gets to choose which uniform it will wear and early in the season when the weather is still warm it's common for teams to opt to wear white instead of a darker color that would attract the sunlight. Sop Carolina chose to wear its road white instead of the home black, thus forcing the Patriots to wear their blue uniforms instead of their normal white ones.
Paul Perillo

I'm wondering... the 'main' type of defenses out there are 3-4 and 4-3...but could you have more or less then that? could you put in a 2-5 formation or 5-2? Cause I've seen the patriots go with no d-line before.
Kacper K.

You could use an 11-0 or a 0-11 if you wanted to. There are no rules preventing any defensive alignment. On offense, there are rules that force teams to put at least seven men on the line of scrimmage. No such restrictions are in place on defense. The Patriots actually have used many 5-2 looks in the past, most notably in the Super Bowl last year against Philadelphia.
Paul Perillo

Hey guys, great article. My question is about scheduling. How is it that we have to play good teams like Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Denver on the road at least two straight years? With many teams run at real quality usually being limited to about two seasons why doesn't the NFL even up the schedule strength?Jordan Zongol

Do you think the folks in Indianapolis are wondering why they have to come back to Foxborough for a second straight year? The point is, the schedule is predetermined (14 of the 16 games rotate). The already know, for instance, that they will be traveling to Jacksonville, Tennessee, Green Bay and Minnesota next season. They'll also travel to an AFC North team that finishes in the same spot in that division as the Patriots do in the AFC East. So if the Patriots and Steelers both win their division crowns, you can break out your crying towel now because the Patriots will go to Pittsburgh next season again. But at least they won't have to go to Denver – if the Broncos and Patriots finish in the spot positions in their respective divisions, the Broncos will come to Foxborough – as they did in 2002.
Paul Perillo

You're probably getting this question a lot this week. Are they any decent free agent safeties still out there, or do you think BB will fill the roster spot in another needed position and go with whom we have now? Get better Rodney. You're my favorite player since Chuck Cecil.
Rod in Redondo Beach

Now that Rodney is out for the year, do you think Belichick will bring back Dexter Reid? He could fill in at both spots and provide needed depth.
Travis Simpson

I wouldn't think Dexter Reid would make much sense as a pickup. He's more of a special teams type player and wouldn't provide much depth at safety. The Patriots obviously didn't think he was worth keeping around during the summer, and after a brief stint in Indianapolis, he was back looking for work. Belichick might try to give Reid a shot, or bring in some other player, but my guess is he'll for a veteran cover man with experience – whether it be a corner or a safety. A player like Terrell Buckley or Otis Smith that he's used in the past. I'm not sure who is out there that fits that mold (maybe Antwan Harris?), but I'd expect Belichick to go that route rather than re-signing Reid.
Paul Perillo

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