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Replay: Best of Radio Thu Feb 22 - 02:00 PM | Tue Feb 27 - 11:55 AM

Ask PFW Part I: Where is the love?

Based on the emails it seems at least a few Patriots fans got some sort of joy in watching Peyton Manning and the Colts crash and burn in the Super Bowl.


That's right, [Peyton] Manning! Ha, ha! Guess you're not going to catapult past [Tom] Brady as the best QB this past decade as ESPN thought, huh?..Ha, ha! Wow! What a game! I'm soooo glad New Orleans won. I was having flashbacks when watching this year's Super Bowl. It felt like Super Bowl 42 and Super Bowl 36 all combined into one game. The Colts loss resembles the Patriots loss of SB 42 to the Giants. And New Orleans win resembles the Patriots win in SB 36. I'm so glad NO won...ha, ha! What do you guys think? What did you think of the game? And do you think Bret Favre will give Manning a call to console him on how to deal with a game-losing interception in the biggest game of your career? Please…lol. Looking forward to the off season and all the excitement it brings. And football will be here before you know it. Keep up the great work guys. Hail.
Dan Paulin

Admit it, the little kid within you was dying of laughter when Tracy Porter was crossing the goal line with Peyton Manning watching from his ass after being leveled on the return.
Mark D.

These are just a couple of the emails we got from Patriots fans reveling in Manning's failure. I'll admit, things could not have worked out much better for New England fans rooting for No. 18's demise. I did chuckle a little bit at the Super Bowl party I attended when during Porter's interception return my friend's wife (wearing her Brady jersey) jumped into the air, screamed and yelled, "Take that you loser!" Now that's passion. But for me, I've never hated Manning or the Colts. I respect them. I was rooting for the Saints, for a ton of reasons, but was filled with anger against Indy. I can, though, see the comparisons from this Super Bowl with the Patriots teams of the past. But I think it's less obvious, as the Colts weren't as bit a favorite and expected winner as the 2007 Patriots and the Saints were not nearly the underdog as the 2001 Patriots. But I can see the comparison. If you are the type of fan that takes joy in the misery of another team's failures, then it's certainly time to live it up. I'm sure plenty of fans from other teams enjoyed New England's loss on Wild Card Weekend, as well as in Super Bowl XLII.
Andy Hart

I am a diehard fan, I love my Patriots, and living in Miami makes it even more exciting because I get to mess with the Dolfans here. But I am starting to wonder what's going on with BB. First no offensive coordinator, now no defensive coordinator. Is he mad because both Romeo and Charlie signed with the [Chiefs] and [Scott Pioli], or is he just gone insane? This whole thing with "Titles are fine, nothing wrong with them, but the most important thing is each person's role, that we do everything we can to help the players succeed, everyone collectively getting the job done." What a load! His playcalling lately has been questionable in some very crucial moments (i.e.: SB XLII, 4th and 13, could have kicked the field go, instead went for it while still on the first half), and his attitude towards some of the players too (go home because you're late, there was a fricking blizzard), and I do understand that this is a business after all, but to us fan, it is FOOTBALL, NEW ENGLAND PROUD AND LOUD FOOTBALL. So to see him doing stuff like this makes me wonder, maybe it is time to move on to someone else. With caliber coaches out there like Gruden, Mora, Billick and Mariucci, not to mention Martz whom went to Chicago, why not bring these guys in to help the team even more, even as coordinators. Has he gone mad and drunk in power? I'm sorry but I need to be convinced that this move will make the team more and more competitive, otherwise players are going to start to look at us and start thinking twice before coming to New England. What is your take, and btw sorry for a such long question, needed to vent a little. GO PATS!!!!!!!!
Sergio Oliveira

This email came under the subject: "WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!!!!????" It's obviously in response to Erik Scalavino's story declaring that Belichick would not be hiring a defensive coordinator and would be spending more of his time on that side of the ball in 2010. Fans wanting changes or big-name additions to the coaching staff were left disappointed and seemingly befuddled. I'd like to offer up some passionate defense of the decision. But I'm not sure I can. The only thing I can say is that regardless of who the coordinators are (or aren't in this case), Belichick's system will always prevail on both sides of the ball in New England as long as he's the man in charge of the football program in Foxborough. I think that is why the team doesn't bring in some established, big name coach. But, that doesn't mean you couldn't have someone who'd fit well into the coordinator role as the staff is currently constituted. I'm not as upset about this announcement as you are, but I'm going to be very interested to see how it plays out. Most importantly, I'm going to be focused on what the players think of the move and how it affects the team's chemistry, direction, identity and overall structure. Time will tell. Again, sorry I can't offer up much more than that at this point in the process.
Andy Hart

What the hell is going on with our Patriots? Has BB lost his mind? Why can't we name a proven OC and DC? BB must be smok'n what Al Davis is. Explains the trades between the two. We are getting closer to our 1-15 days. Might be time for a whole new direction.
Craige Fricke

Come on, Craige! Knowing it was my week and my love for lame name jokes, you should have said, "What the Fricke is going on with our Patriots?" That would have been awesome. Anyway, I can understand your frustration. The Patriots are seemingly going to hit 2010 without a coordinator, in a titular sense, on either offense or defense. While I'm not as hung up on the fact that they don't have a proven, big-name coordinator on either side, I don't get why the team would go without having a guy with the title. Using Belichick's own quotes, someone is going to fill-out at least some of the coordinator role on one side of the ball. My guess is at the very least, O'Brien will be coordinator-like on offense and call the plays, again. Why doesn't he get the title? I can't answer that. Belichick has gone with coordinators on both sides of the ball in the past and built up his genius resume and "In Bill We Trust" reputation along the way. Have we reached the point where we are ready to not only call into question his decisions but go as far as revolt against them? Only each individual fan can answer that. I know I haven't reached that point. And I'll pose the same question I always do, and call me a shill if you will, but who would you rather have running the football program in Foxborough? I want names!
Andy Hart

Hey PFW. Love reading Ask PFW every Tuesday. Simple question, who do you guys believe are the top five quarterbacks in NFL history? I believe that top spot has to be Joe Montana.Rob Hansen

I can only speak for myself. I'd go with:
1. Joe Montana
2. John Elway
3. Tom Brady
4. Peyton Manning
5. Johnny Unitas

Andy Hart

Which of these receivers, if any, would you like to see in a Patriots uniform next season: Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall, Donte Stallworth, Deion Branch? Additionally, do you think that their offensive system is simply bad for tight ends? The Patriots have managed to get little out of the freakishly athletic Benjamin Watson, and didn't do a thing with David Thomas, who became an immediate contributor on the Saints. Could they use Tony Scheffler at all?Sam Frankel

I wouldn't mind seeing any of those guys you listed, other than Marshall. I'm not into him at all. His antics on the practice field last year were an embarrassment to the game and to all sports. No thanks. The rest have their issues as well, including injuries (Boldin and Branch) and off-field problems (Stallworth). Given their knowledge of the system and potential low price to acquire, Branch and Stallworth might be the best fits. As for the tight ends, I think it's as much about the players' shortcomings as the system as to why the position has failed to shine in New England. Watson has never been consistent in terms of his health or catching the football. Thomas also battled injuries in his time here. Daniel Graham had suspect hands. I think if the right guy, with the right combination of athletic skills, hands and smarts landed in New England I think he would flourish with Tom Brady. Could Scheffler be that type of guy? I don't really know enough about him to say for sure but he's been relatively productive in the league. He's got decent athletic skills, size and hands. So I wouldn't mind giving him a look. But as a restricted free agent, I'm not sure he's the best option or worth the effort.
Andy Hart

Hi guys, I was just wondering with all the talk about the chargers releasing LaDanian [Tomlinson] what are the chances of him coming here to New England? And what are your feelings about Ocho Cinco becoming a Patriot?Mark Laplante

Tomlinson obviously seems to be done in San Diego. I don't see him fitting in New England. First, his skills and burst have clearly eroded. Second, he seems more often than not to come off as a me-first guy in recent years. Third, we already have enough aging running backs for the backfield committee. If the Patriots add a runner it should be a young, top-end talent. LT may have one last run in him, but I don't expect it to be in New England. On the other hand, I'd be happy to welcome Ochocinco to town. I think he's a highly skilled if at times immature player. I think he would thrive in the atmosphere here with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. And given the team's lack of depth at wide receiver right now, Ochocinco would be a big boost at the position. Do I think it will happen? No. But it would be fun to see.
Andy Hart

I know Bill likes Fresno State players and I am a Fresno native. Fortunately I am a proud fan of the Patriots, thanks to Drew McQueen Bledsoe. But I feel that the Patriots should go on and draft RB Ryan Mathews in the 2nd round. He is a great player. I strongly believe that he really has a 1st round caliber but won't be coming out in the 1st due to the school he goes to. But draft him like u guys did with Logan Mankins and James Sanders.Tue Vue

I haven't seen a ton of Mathews, but I didn't like the one game I watched a lot of. I know he led the country in rushing and seems to be a well-rounded running back prospect. But I didn't like his goal line running against Wyoming in their bowl game. I thought he ran soft. By all accounts he has a chance to be a very good, well-rounded pro, and I'm sure the Patriots could get a great scouting report on him from former Belichick assistant Pat Hill, but I'm not sold he's an elite NFL talent. But if he has the character of the two Fresno guys you mentioned – two of my favorite players on the current team in New England – then Mathews can have a role on my team any day.
Andy Hart

I just read that Darren Sharper is going to be a free agent. If the Saints don't re-sign him do you think the Patriots will try to offer him a contract. He would bring a lot to this young defense, I think he could step right in and be a leader on this defense (something that was lacking this past year). Thanks a lot and keep up the good work.Zack Ross

Sharper is set to be a free agent. He had a great year for the Saints with interceptions, touchdowns and big plays. He's coming to the end of the road, though. I also saw him miss too many tackles in the postseason for my liking. Brandon Meriweather already fills the bill as the Patriots tackle-missing Pro Bowl safety. No thanks.
Andy Hart

Watching former Pats Dave Thomas and Randall Gay winning a SB and others making significant contributions on other teams, I was wondering why these guys were let go? It is understandable that some players are let go for many reasons, but Patriots roster is turning into a revolving door for role players. What is the point in letting one role player go to bring in another of the same or lower quality? Let's assume it is the same quality -- it takes about a season to get comfortable in a system and develop a chemistry with teammates. And the next season they are gone, "replacements" are brought in. My question -- what do you think are the chances that [Robert] Kraft will hire a GM with at least veto power? Belichick, as great coach as he is, is proving to be a very poor personnel manager.
Bill Smotes

Zero. Belichick runs the football show in New England and has final say. It's been that way, and worked very well for the most part, for more than a decade. It's not going to change now. And the issue you are watching with role players is the same for every team. It's the way the league works. Role players with winning teams get more money to go be more than role players with other teams. Gay was like that, getting decent money to go home to New Orleans. Thomas, on the other hand, was simply traded away because the Patriots apparently had no interest in retaining him. But the basic structure in the NFL is that you keep your stars and key players together, and build around them with young players or role-playing veterans each year. While Belichick may have had a tough season in the personnel department in 2009, I think he's still better than a lot of decision makers in the NFL in that area. He had a down year. Let's see if he can bounce back from it.
Andy Hart

So Bill says the Pats will not hire an offensive coordinator. I think they need one. I did hear that they will let Brady call more plays which is fine. But I think they could use someone to help him plan the plays. And go over what works and doesn't. I'd like to know what you guys at PFW think about this. Also does this mean that Brady will have some say on which offensive players should be drafted by the team?Matt Lucia

I don't know where you heard that Brady will call more plays, but that's news to me. I don't believe that to be accurate in any way. As Belichick has so often said, "Players play and coaches coach." I think it will continue to work that way. Bill O'Brien will be in charge of calling plays on offense. The staff, in some combination as a group, will play a role in putting together weekly game plans. I also don't believe Brady will have much, if any say on offensive players being drafted. His role is as player and team leader. Let's not ask him to do more than that. Belichick, as he should, oversees the rest of it.
Andy Hart

With all the speculation over free agency, draft scenarios, uncapped years and work stoppage, I thought you guys might enjoy a lighter - maybe even pointless question! My wife and I were just watching Waterboy with Adam Sandler and very briefly it cuts to stock footage of the Wolverines with QB number 10. I told my wife since the film came out in '98 it must be Tommy Boy. What's the verdict? Brady or no Brady in Waterboy?Chris Stuck

I don't know the answer to this question, and I don't have the movie to watch in slow-motion. Maybe someone in the Ask PFW/Patriots Nation universe will be able to help us out with the answer. I think it's doubtful, though, since Brady didn't play much until 1998 at Michigan as he had previously backed up Brian Griese. Chris, Brady was in a movie you might be interested in -- Stuck On You. (Get it, Chris? Stuck On You!)
Andy Hart

A math-ish question I'm too lazy to figure out. With no out-of-bounds or pass incompletion plays (clock stoppage), all 4-down series, all running plays of ~2.5 yards per carry, and the drive starting on the one-yard line of the offense, what's the maximum time of possession for a single drive? (Assume what seems reasonable, i.e. no penalties and that every 2.5-yard running play takes roughly 2-3 seconds to execute.) Could a single drive take more than 15 minutes?Nathan Goulding

I'll play along. So I guess you'd just divide the 99 yards needed to score by the 2.5 yards per play. That means it would take 40 plays to get to the end zone. Using your estimate of three seconds per run play (although I think that might be a bit low) and assuming you would try to use as much of the 40-second clock as you can, I'd say you multiply the 40 plays by 42 seconds (snapping the ball with one second left on the play clock for each play) to get 1,680 seconds for time of the drive. That equals 28 minutes. So unless I'm missing something here, and without taking into account any stoppages for measurements, penalties or other variables, the longest drive under your parameters would be 28 minutes. That's nearly an entire half of play. Imagine that! Of course I'm sure there is some mathematician out there who will shoot down my math and send us a different answer. We'll pass those along in a future Ask PFW.
Andy Hart

I wonder about the sustainability of the Patriots business model. There are no more affordable 6-year deals for top 1st draft talent. Finding free agent steals is nearly impossible now. And good luck with finding another Tom Brady in the 6th round. That means the team MUST excel in drafting talent in the core rounds. To that extend I propose the team to find and hire a draft genius to complement the coach.
Ben Covalt

Do you have a list of draft geniuses who are available? I thought Belichick was on that list? Can you actually lose genius status once you get? Do you get de-geniused? And just to correct your facts, the picks in the top half of the first round still sign six-year contracts. The end of the opening round max out at five-year deals and the rest of the picks get four-year deals or shorter. I also think you can still get bargains in free agency. You just have to find them. It is still about – in both the draft and free agency – finding the right player for your need and you team. Nothing more, nothing less.
Andy Hart

It seems like every year the Pats don't get to the Super Bowl (I know - crazy high expectation) they are missing one or two elements. 2001 won SB. 2002 teams figured out the 'dink and dunk' offense. 2003 & 2004 won SB's. 2005 no inside linebackers: Bruschi makes an incredible return after his stroke, but Johnson and Phifer retired. 2006 no wide receivers: Branch and Givens left. 2007 lost SB at the very end after going 18-0, not missing anything (except Neal in the SB). 2008 no Brady (and Samuel gone). 2009 lost leadership, and high level play, with Seymour, Bruschi, Vrabel and Harrison gone and no pass rush (also missed Hobbs on KRs). Will 2010 be the year with no defensive line?Boris Becker (not the tennis player)

Thanks for lobbing this one up, Boris. I'll see if I can return a decent answer. Hopefully there are no unforced errors in my response. Not sure why you think the defensive line will be more an issue this year than last, unless you are assuming that we've seen the last of Wilfork in New England. I believe he'll be franchised and, happy with it or not, will have to play out the year. If that's true, then you'll have a similar lineup as this year. It may not be as good as a couple years ago, but it should at least be as good as this year. Wilfork, Ty Warren, Mike Wright, Myron Pryor will all be back. They should be as good or better than a year ago. Maybe Ron Brace will make a big jump in his second year. I don't think you'll really miss Jarvis Green if he leaves in free agency. So while the group may not be the unquestioned foundation of the defense anymore, I'm not sure it will ultimately be the reason for failure if they don't win the Super Bowl a year from now.
Andy Hart

Can you please explain the NFL rules governing the use of helmet headsets? Do they have to be switched off prior to the snap of the football? If so when exactly does this happen.Mark Stefanik

The communication link between the coaches and players' helmets cuts off with 15 seconds left on the play clock. From that point through the end of the ensuing play is communication free.
Andy Hart

I know it's far away, but hearing all this talk lately of a lockout is really getting me confused. My questions are, if a deal isn't reached and next year is uncapped, will that mean it's almost certain there will be a lockout? And if there is one, does that just simply mean EVERYTHING will be just shut down for a year? Would it just be like a really, really long offseason?
Andrew Kalinowski

The uncapped year really has no direct bearing on the potential for a lockout. The players and owners will continue to negotiate throughout the next year toward a new CBA. If nothing is reached by this time next year then we'll likely reach a lockout period that will put an end to everything (free agency, offseason workouts, etc.) save for that 2011 draft. That will take place as scheduled regardless. If the sides don't reach an agreement sometime in the spring and summer of 2011 then we could get to the point where there is no football in 2011. But, thankfully, that nightmare scenario is still a long ways away. Right now we just have to deal with the uncapped year. The potential for a lockout is on the horizon, but still off in the distance.
Andy Hart

I have a more unanswerable question than, 'where will Tebow end up?' Time will tell for Tebow, and good luck. Who wins if a late season 2008 Cassel led Patriots team plays a late season 2009 Brady led Patriots team? Brady has some gaudy stats on Cassel because of a couple blowouts, but Cassel had one more regular season win, though no embarrassment during wildcard weekend--and it was an embarrassment. Remember it's a whole team thing, not just QB--Brady's still the man in my book. However, I'd go with Cassel's supporting cast, how about PFW?James Siegel

I'd have to take the 2009 Patriots in a hard fought battle. While Brady is the biggest difference maker, I also think the 2009 secondary was better than the 2008 version. So Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker (I assume I get him in the lineup for the 2009 team) would have a great day throwing against the 2008 defensive backs. Matt Cassel's athleticism could give the 2009 Patriots pass rush problems and Jabar Gaffney role as the No. 3 receiver could stretch the 2009 secondary to its limits, but I still take the 2009 team. I'll say Brady's boys beat Cassel's crew 31-20. But I do wonder how much a role Josh McDaniels would play for the 2008 team, and his being absent from the 2009 squad.
Andy Hart

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