With Scott Pioli going to Kansas City, trading Matt Cassel to KC would seem to make sense for a lot of reasons. But do you think Pioli sees Cassel as fair value for the #3 pick in the draft, and does Bill Belichick really want a pick that high because of the money it would tie up in one player?Steve Ouellette
The Detriot Lions have two first round draft picks (#1 and #20 from the Cowboys for Roy Williams). Wouldn't it make sense for them to trade one of their first round picks (#20) and a second round pick (#33) for Cassel. If they do that, they would have their QB problem solved and they can still draft someone who can make a quick impact with their first overall pick. What do you think of this scenario? Do you think Bill would make that move?Talwinder Singh
Are there any teams that would be willing to give up two first round picks and if so, which are the most likely teams that would? My guess would be the 49ers, Chiefs or Lions.Patrick Connolly
Let's start from the top here. Yes, I think Pioli would consider a trade for Cassel, and the #3 pick would certainly have to be a part of that discussion, along with another pick (a third-rounder, perhaps) or a player. If the Pats got that pick from K.C., they might not necessarily use it to draft a player, unless they felt they wanted a Jerod Mayo-type who they felt wouldn't be there later; they would more than likely trade down to accumulate even more picks.
The hypothetical Lions offer sounds like an even better one. The new Detroit coach, Jim Schwartz, couldn't stop talking about Belichick, his former mentor in Cleveland, when he was introduced to the Detroit media. So, he might be willing to negotiate, and that deal looks good for both sides.
But if Patrick's scenario plays out, that's the best of the bunch. Two first-rounders for Cassel? If you can get any team to offer that, make the deal in a second.
Assuming Cassel is traded and with Brady coming back from a serious injury, do you see the Pats trading for or signing any veteran quarterbacks as a number 2 or possibly number 3 quarterback? If so, who do you see that might be available that is a good fit for this team and offense?P. Evenson
That's a distinct possibility. I think your Patriots quarterback of the future, Kevin O'Connell, would keep his job as the backup, which he earned as a rookie this past season. But adding a veteran to the roster makes perfect sense. The names on the market aren't all that great, but here are a few who might be considered: Charlie Batch, David Carr, Charlie Frye, Patrick Ramsey, and Anthony Wright. Ryan Fitzpatrick of Cincy is also going to be a free agent, and I like his gritty style, but he might be looking for a more competitive role as a starter somewhere. Same with Kerry Collins, who would've been the perfect backup had he not just finished such a great comeback season with Tennessee. He's already said he wants to start somewhere next season.
*Erik Scalavino *
There is speculation that the Pats will franchise Cassel, and that the Raiders will do the same with [cornerback Nnamdi] Asomugha. Can teams trade franchise players straight up?
I don't see why not, James. In this case, the Raiders would be on the hook for the bigger salary if they made such a deal. They'd also be admitting that drafting JaMarcus Russell was a colossal mistake, neither of which I'm guessing they'd be willing to do. But if they wanted to, I suppose they could.
*Erik Scalavino *
Do you think it's a sham that Cassel didn't get any MVP nods seeing as he stepped into a situation where nobody (except Belichick) believed in him and he nearly took the Pats to the playoffs?
I'm not sure about MVP, Josh, but I do think Cassel should've been voted to the Pro Bowl, particularly in place of the ridiculously overrated Brett Favre. Cassel had a tremendous season and a legitimate case can be made for him to be in Hawaii, but it might be a bit of a stretch to tag him as MVP.
Last year the pats signed Tank Williams as a free agent last season and sounded promising until he got injured. What do you think Pats will do with him this year since he's now a free agent?Pearce Bennett
Well, he was injury-prone in his previous two stops (Minnesota and Tennessee) and he lived up to that billing once he got here. I think the Patriots saw something in him, which is why they invested so much time in minicamp and training camp experimenting with Williams at safety and inside linebacker. But given his fragile state, I wouldn't be surprised if he's looking for work elsewhere come summertime.
Do the Patriots ever hold open tryouts for the public, like walk-ons in college?Steve Demoura
You've watched Invincible one too many times. I'm afraid those days are long gone, my friend. Nowadays, to get a free-agent tryout with an NFL team, you've got to be hand-picked by a team's scouting/personnel department. So, if you're trying to become the next Vince Papale, you're out of luck. Sorry to squash your dream, Steve. But, hey, if you know any talented young women who want a job in the NFL, the Pats are holding open auditions for the cheerleading squad on Saturday, February 28. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Dana-Farber Field House.
When a team needs time at the end of a half or game and doesn't have any timeouts, the quarterback spikes the ball and the clock stops (assuming they have enough downs). Why is this not intentional grounding and a penalty?
Because the Rule Book allows it. Intentional grounding is a penalty only when a quarterback is facing "an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure from the defense" and he throws the ball "without a realistic chance of completion." The phrases in quotes are taken directly from the intentional grounding section of the NFL's official Rule Book. As a note to that rule, the Rule Book states that "a player under center is permitted to stop the game clock legally to save time if, immediately upon receiving the snap, he … throws the ball directly forward into the ground."
*Erik Scalavino *
Hi, I'm French and a big fan of the Pats since 1995! I would really like to go to Wembley [Stadium in London] in October to support them [in the game against Tampa Bay]. How could I get a ticket for the game?
Thanks for the long-distance support, Alex. Here's a link to the NFL's U.K. website, which offers detailed ticket information, including pricing, for the Patriots-Buccaneers game on October 25: http://www.nfluk.com/ticket-information.html
Merci encore pour votre soutenir, et bon chance!
My 14-year-old son is a huge Patriots fan. We live 60 miles from Pittsburgh and we hate the Steelers. Last year, I was able to take him up [to New England] for training camp. I would like to know when training camp will be held this year so I can make arrangements to take him again.Karen Knesh
While no exact dates have been announced yet, it's a safe bet that training camp will begin, as it does each summer, around the last week of July and continue for about three weeks.
When is the 2009 schedule going to be announced? I would love to be able to plan my bachelor party around an away Patriots game in a location that would be warm so we can also get in some golf.
My fiancé and I are huge Patriots fans. We want to go to New England this year for our honeymoon and watch a Pats game live in Gillette Stadium. We are getting married on October 10th. I would like to know when the official schedule is coming out, so I can see if we can make it to New England to cheer for our favorite team in their home stadium.Aleshia Horner
Congratulations to both of you. The complete NFL schedule, with dates and times, is announced each year in early April. The exact day changes from year to year. FYI, David, the Patriots are playing New Orleans on the road this year. No matter when that game is, you might want to consider having your bachelor party there. And Aleshia, we already know that the Pats are traveling to London to play the Bucs on October 25, so your best chance of seeing them here would probably be either on your wedding weekend or the following weekend. You should be able to make definitive plans by mid-April, at the latest.
I have always wondered what happens when a stadium is selected for the Super Bowl, and the home team goes all the way that year. Does the league have a back up plan just in case?
Nope. That team would play the Super Bowl in their home stadium – something that's never happened, coincidentally, in NFL history. But they wouldn't necessarily have a home-field advantage because the NFL allots tickets for the big game the same as they would at a neutral site.
*Erik Scalavino *
It appears the Pats only have two players (Jerod Mayo, Ty Warren) signed beyond the 2011 season. Do you guys think Bill Belichick is trying to clear cap space so he can sign LeBron James????
Hermey The Great
Absolutely. That's exactly the kind of forward-thinking approach for which Belichick has become famous. Le Bron was actually an accomplished receiver in high school, but if you've seen his latest commercial for State Farm, it looks like he's leaning toward signing with the Cleveland Browns. And if you think any part of this response is serious, you don't deserve your self-imposed title ... unless, of course, you're Hermey the elf from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special. Now he was great.