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Patriots Replay Fri May 29 | 12:00 AM - 11:58 PM

Ask PFW: Part II -- Offseason moving along

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]()Does the position player-coach exist in the NFL? If so, perhaps that would be a method to keep Troy Brown on the team, with his salary split between the two duties and only the player portion counting towards the cap --- assuming the team really would like to have him around again. I guess it's just hard to imagine feeling good about the Patriots without Number 80 on the field.*
*Myron Wolfe

While player/coaches are rare in the NFL, Jimmy Spencer held that role as a defensive back and defensive backs coach with the Broncos over the last two seasons. Spencer was the first player to handle such a double-dip in the NFL since Dan Reeves acted as a player/coach with the Dallas Cowboys in 1970 and 1971. But even if Brown wanted to fill the rare role, any compensation he received would count on the salary cap. He might be considered part coach, but if he is on the roster any money he is paid by the team would count on the cap, nothing could be subtracted to be considered as his coaching salary. It's a nice idea, but it doesn't work that way.
Andy Hart

Dear Sir or Madam, Can you clarify for me whether this January's Super Bowl means the Pat's won in '05 or '04? Some people say the win is for the 2004 season. Is that correct? Thanks for your answer.Melinda McAra

New England won the Super Bowl XXXIX, capping the 2004 NFL season. They are the NFL champions for 2004, despite the fact that the game actually took place in the 2005 calendar year. And thanks for the polite open to your email, but please save your "Madams" for weeks when Bryan "strong feminine side" Morry is handling the Ask PFW answers.
Andy Hart

Ihave a question concerning the practice of coaches holding a clipboard in front of their face when they call in plays from the sidelines. It seems that this is done to prevent the other team from seeing what play is being called. My question is this: have you ever heard of teams utilizing lip readers with binoculars in the stands or cameras trained on the other teams coaches to try to steal plays. This has been talked about in baseball with teams trying to steal the catcher's signals but I've never heard of anything in regards to football. If not, why haven't teams tried this? Are there any rules that address this?
Tim Mahan

I've never heard of that happening and I am not sure what rule there are against it, but the real answer to the question is that most football coaches are paranoid. Even if a team could read the lips of a coach -- interpreting that play call, relaying it to the guys on the field and reacting to that in time for the next play would be extremely difficult. Personally, I think it could all be overkill, but give coaches credit they do the best to cover all their bases. But to my knowledge, no team has ever won or lost a game because someone read a coach's lips.
Andy Hart

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]()I am surprised that the Pat's let Joe Andruzzi go. At 29 he's still pretty young as far as a offensive lineman goes. Why sign Brandon Gorin when you have the experience, and leadership in Andruzzi? Could have got him cheap too, yes? Thanks *Bob Sulik*

First off, no you couldn't get him on the cheap. The primary and pretty much only reason he signed in Cleveland was the fact that the Browns reportedly offered him twice the money he had on the table in New England. It was about the money. Gorin is a young player who has developed well in the New England system over the last couple of years. He doesn't have the wear and tear of a guy like Andruzzi, whose knees are worn well beyond their 29 years, and will be paid according to his performance as either a starter or backup in the coming years. Obviously they like what Gorin brings to the table and think of him as a better value and long-term solution than Andruzzi. I am just happy for Joe because he got a good deal in Cleveland that pays him for all the hard work he's put in over the last few seasons.
Andy Hart

How many picks do the Patriots have in 2005 draft and in which rounds?John Mendes

New England has six picks, its own pick in the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds, and what was Arizona's pick in the fifth round. The Patriots sent a third-round pick to the Cardinals in the trade for Duane Starks. But stay tuned because New England will likely get an additional compensatory pick or two once the league awards them for the loss of such guys last spring as Damien Woody, Ted Washington and Bobby Hamilton. That pick or picks will likely be in the range of the fourth round.
Andy Hart

Responding to the question about the opening game being a Thursday rematch of the championship game: I read on the list of opponents that the Patriots are to return to Heinz Field this year. Was that a misprint? I think it would be highly unfair for us to go there back-to-back years since we don't play them twice in a season. It seems only logical that they'd come here this year. And it seems even less fair to have the opening game be at Heinz Field as opposed to Gillette since the Pats won the Super Bowl. How would this be dealt with to ensure the Pats will be at home on the opener?Nathan F.

Don't worry, the Patriots will be home for the opener, the only question that remains is as to the opponent. Many are speculating that the Colts could fill that slot, although the Dolphins might also be a consideration. There is no rule on the books that says the Super Bowl champion has to open in a rematch of the previous winter's conference championship. It has just worked out that way. And as far as the return to Pittsburgh, it's just the way the schedule worked out. The Patriots played the AFC North last season and that entailed one of the four games against that division as a trip to Heinz. This season one of the two Patriots games decided by the previous season's record is against the Steelers and just happens to be at Heinz. There is no conspiracy here. The league has a pre-determined schedule system and that's just the way it has worked out for the Patriots over the last two seasons.
Andy Hart

I know the common thought is the Pats will most likely take the best available CB with their 1st round pick, but do you think now there is a chance of taking a middle linebacker (Channing Crowder maybe?) because of the uncertainty at that position? Obviously we're all pulling for Bruschi to make a full recovery and return to the field, but there's still the possibility of him not returning. Or do you see the Pats possibly going after a free agent such as Kendrell Bell? Just wondering what your thoughts are. Thanks.Jay Corbeille

First off, the addition of Starks via trade makes the cornerback position a little less of a need, although I think the team will still draft a corner in the mid to later rounds this April. Beyond that there is no question the team needs to address the inside linebacker spot this spring. The free agent market offers guys like Bell and former Raven Edgerton Hartwell, while the draft offers top talent like Crowder (who has injury and off-field concerns on his resume) as well as a relatively deep group. Rest assured, with Phifer gone, questions remaining about Bruschi and Ted Johnson getting older by the day, New England will have some new bodies lining up at inside linebacker when training camp opens this July.
Andy Hart

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]()My Question is about our restricted free agents. I was wondering why the Patriots would even consider not giving a player of David Given's talent the mid or high level tender. I believe the mid level tender is for about 1.5 million while the high tender is closer to 2 million. Those do not seem like particularly large salaries, and would go a long way towards scaring other teams off. I also feel that Jarvis Green, Stephen Neal and Brandon Gorin proved their worth and are worth at least the mid level tender. That way, incase they did receive a larger offer somewhere else, at least the pats would receive a first round pick as opposed to a low round pick. Your thoughts? *Jonah Olken-Dann*

As you probably know by now, Givens, Green, Neal and Ashworth all received the mid-level tender, while Gorin signed a three-year deal to remain with the team. The tender offer of $1.43 million means any team looking to sign the players would have to give up a first round pick to do so, assuming of course that the Patriots don't match the offer sheet. I actually thought there was a chance Givens would get the high tender, but I guess the team feels the mid-level is enough to dissuade teams from snatching up these restricted players. And so far there has been little action in that area so it would appear as of right now the Patriots will get all four players back under the one-year tender contracts, unless of course they reach longer deals with the players.
Andy Hart

What do u think of the trade for Starks? Given his injury prone history and non-physical style of play, is he a good fit? Ty Law was a very physical CB compared to him.Moses Ip

I think it is a pretty good deal with very little down side. Starks is a guy with a lot of talent who could be a key contributor if he can stay healthy. Remember, he is a former top-10 pick. This could be like the Corey Dillon deal from a year ago, where the team turns a draft pick into an immediate contributing starter. And I wouldn't worry about having physical players to fill out the secondary. At cornerback Randall Gay and Asante Samuel are both pretty physical players, while Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson may be the most physical, hard-hitting safety duo in the game.
Andy Hart

Is it possible to attend the 2005 summer training camp for the Patriots? If yes, how do I do so? Thanks.Janet McCraw

All fans have to do to get to training camp at Gillette Stadium is show up for the practice sessions. The practices are open to the public and parking is free. Camp will open in the end of July and run through the middle of August sometime. For more detailed information check out Patirots.com later this summer for training camp guidelines, schedules and any information that might become available.
Andy Hart

First off, I must tell you that you guys keep me on my fix of football even in the offseason - thanks for that! My question is, since the Pats appear to have made their cuts before the salary cap deadline for 2005, does that mean that Tyrone Poole is bound to stay? It would be good to have an experienced CB despite Samuel and Gay's performance in the 2004 season. Do you agree?Nagendra Murti

I am always a big believer in experience. While I don't think Poole is anywhere near Law in terms of talent, he has proven he can play at a high level in the New England system. The combo of Poole and the newly acquired Starks could combine with the youth of Gay and Samuel to form a pretty solid secondary. Published reports indicate that Poole was actually due a $600,000 roster bonus today and if that is paid then I would assume the veteran will be a Patriot in 2005. And if he can recover from the knee injury that cut his season short a year ago, that should be a good thing for the New England defense.
Andy Hart

What's the league policy on the alternate jersey? I hate the silver the Pats have been using. Can it only be a 3rd jersey or could they have another whole set of uniforms, i.e. could they use the old 1985 uniforms as their alternate? The farther away we get from the old Pat the Patriot uni's the more I like 'em. Whatcha think? - Can I purchase a Pats jersey with my name and choice of # on it through the pro shop? I know someone who has their last name on a Steelers jersey and I think that's a pretty cool idea.JBird

In a slight step in the right direction, New England's alternate silver jersey will get a slight change in 2005 that should make it look better and less like a dirty white jersey. While I have heard some talk of the team going to a red alternate jersey, one using the current logo and design but in red rather than silver, that process takes more than two seasons to get league approval and isn't going to happen any time soon. Hopefully the updated silver jersey will look a little better in 2005 and if fans don't like it, at least it only shows up once a season. As far as the personalized jersey, those can be purchased in the Patriots Pro Shop at Gillette Stadium or online at Patriots.com.
Andy Hart

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]()Do you know if Christian Fauria has a new contract with the Pats? *Jean Raffin*

Fauria is under contract with the Patriots through the 2005 season.
Andy Hart

Hi Guys, Just read that Joe Andruzzi has signed for Cleveland. I'm more upset and surprised at this development than Ty Law being released. I re-watch Patriots games on video all the time and one thing always stands out - Joe Andruzzi's delight and joy when we scored a touchdown or made a big first down. Apart from his excellent line play, he is a tremendous downfield blocker on screen plays as well. TV commentators are always pointing those great blocks out. I think the Patriots will miss his competitive enthusiasm and team first ethos a lot. A sad day for Patriot nation.Chris Rowley

I agree. Andruzzi will be missed in the locker room and on the field, especially with his offensive line teammates. He was the leader of that group – whether that meant making a big block or playing a prank in the locker room. He was a great team player, a hard worker, a solid member of the community and one of the real good guys in the locker room. He will be missed, but I am happy for him and the deal he was able to get in Cleveland. As I said earlier in the mailbag, we don't have to like it but the NFL is a business. He got paid and I am glad for him.
Andy Hart

Why would the Patriots attempt to make a run at Derek Mason? The way I see it is that Givens and Branch will be the two starters, Bethel Johnson will be 3 or 4 depending on Patten and Brown, and PK Sam will be in the mix too. Going into free agency I thought that was the least of the Patriots needs. Instead of having one big, fast, clutch receiver, the Patriots have a big guy, a fast guy, and a clutch guy. I think if we try to sign a big name receiver like Mason it would mess up the balance of our passing game.Corey Fink

Belichick answered the Mason question in the Coach's Corner portion of the latest Patriots Football Weekly that hits newsstands tomorrow. "We're just trying to improve the team," Belichick said of the pursuit of Mason who eventually signed in Baltimore. "We talk to a lot of players and obviously they don't all end up here. Some of them do, but most of them don't."
Assuming Givens doesn't leave via free restricted free agency, he and Branch will be the top two receivers in 2005. Beyond that the position has a lot of questions. Brown could be back, but that is certainly no guarantee. Johnson still needs to prove he has the hands, route running and dependability to be an every-down receiver rather than just a big play threat. And Sam is very much an unknown – a guy with size and ability who has yet to prove anything at the pro level. I would actually be surprised if New England doesn't bring in a veteran receiver, maybe a guy like Tai Streets, Ike Hilliard, Bobby Shaw or even Brown. The group has benefited from its depth and ability to be interchangeable in recent years and I am not sure Givens are Branch has shown enough for me to believe they can make it through a full season as Tom Brady's only two real targets.
Andy Hart

A co-worker and I were talking and I was telling her that our mascot was the flying Elvis. She didn't think the trademark, was intentionally drawn to look like Elvis, just a Patriot. My question is, where DID the Flying Elvis originate?Leah Rhue

The logo, which came about in a redesign in 1993, is described in the Patriots media guide as "a streamlined head of a minuteman." Any resemblance to Elvis, something that earned the logo the flying Elvis nickname that is so prevalent these days, is purely coincidental. Sorry I had to be the one to break the news to you.
Andy Hart

Should Roman Phifer and/or Troy Brown choose to retire as active players, might Belichick offer them an opportunity to return in some coaching capacity? With their in-depth knowledge of his coaching philosophy and the respect each has commanded from their fellow players, they certainly would be worthy candidates for entry level positions. Any thoughts on this idea?
Joe Didato

Worthy? No question. Interested? I am not sure. I do know that a larger number of NFL players have said that coaching in the NFL doesn't interest them because of the long hours and difficult lifestyle that it entails. Coaching in the NFL is a year round, long hour job. That can be a tough transition for professional athletes to make. And while I am sure Belichick would take the players on as interns, he is a big believer in guys (even former players) earning their way in the coaching field. That would mean even guys like Phifer and Brown would have to accept low-level intern type jobs to begin with as former player Pepper Johnson did to begin his coaching career. I am not sure either of the guys you mentioned, both family men with children, would be interested in that.
Andy Hart

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]()I was watching a highlight film recently, and of all of Tom Brady's excellent plays, I never once saw a clip of when he punted the ball (they faked a 4th down conversion, if I remember correctly) and the team downed it at the 5 yd line. Excellent punting job! So do you guys remember this play (it had to have been in the 2003 season) and what game it was in? Thanks! *Christopher Keene*

Brady had one punt, a 36-yarder downed inside the 20-yard line, in a December 2003 game against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. The pooch kick was downed at the Dolphins 1-yard line and set up a subsequent Jarvis Green and Mike Vrabel sack for a safety to close out the game's scoring with less than two-minutes to play. New England won 12-0 in the game that was played after approximately 30 inches of snow had fallen in the New England area.
Andy Hart

Last year the Pats held a draft party at Gillette. I thought it was fun and an overall really good time. I'm concerned now though because I haven't seen or heard anything about a draft party for 2005. Is there going to be one this year? I hope so. I'd also like to make my BOLD ROUND 1 PREDICTION...With the 32nd pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, the Patriots select LB ROBERT McCune, of Louisville. This guy is a MONSTER and will be a steal come draft day! Thanks and Take Care.
Thomas Bergeron

Thanks for the prediction, Thomas, it's now on the record for all to see. We'll see what happens. Yes, there is going to be a draft party this year on April 23 at Gillette Stadium. For more detailed information about the party and to order tickets click on the draft party link right now in the upper left corner of Patriots.com.
Andy Hart

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