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Ask PFW: Patriots Nation answers Shawn Frazier

Last week Andy Hart posted an e-mail from a Patriots fan who said he would root for Adam Vinatieri to make a game winning kick against New England when the two teams play on Nov. 5. We received plenty of responses so to be fair; I chose the first four good ones that came in. Needless to say, Shawn Frazier did not receive much support from Patriots Nation.

I like a lot of the players we lost this year and I hope they do well in their new uniforms. Just not against the patriots. For me, it's ok to like other players and even other teams unless they are facing New England. You have to remember who your team is.Peter Savageau

First of all, I love you guys at PFW and really appreciate all of your insights. However, the last question in your 10/03 mailbag made me want to choke on my own vomit. I would really appreciate it if you would please pass this along to Shawn Frazier. You are not a diehard Patriots fan. You would be happy the COLTS beat the PATRIOTS on a last second field goal from the man who spurned us for our archenemy. (For just one million dollars by the way.) Well you go ahead and root for Benedict Arnold but the rest of "diehards" will be more than happy burning Adam's number 4 jersey come November. He is dead to me. It would be like cheering for David Ortiz as a Yankee when he hit a game winning home run to beat the Red Sox. You make me sick Shawn. Look up the definition of fan. Please stop rooting for the New England Patriots. Go ahead and root for Peyton. Traitor.Mike Lohrmann

In response to post by Shawn Frazier about being a die hard Patriots Fan, but cheering for the Colts against the Pats under certain conditions such as if Adam Vinatieri is kicking a game winning field gold: Let me say this - you are not a fan and should be banned from the stadium, this website and the State of Massachusetts. A fan cheers for the team always and not the people wearing the uniform. Get in your car and start driving to Indianapolis, find a job and home there and start going to the Colts home games. There you may put on a Colts shirt and cheer Adam, we don't need or want you!Arthur Soule

I think that Shawn Frazier is not a ¨die-hard¨ patriots fan. It makes me sick to my stomach to hear him say he would want our boys to go home. It is acceptable to want former players to do well, as I do with Ty Law, but to put them in front of the Patriots, is insanity. He is a fan of the players and has no favorite team. He should buy the AFC/ NFC jerseys because he has no home in New England. The thought of the colts winning on account of Vinatieri is tasteless and appalling (I kept it clean so he can read my displeasure).Nicholas Velez

I won't tell people how to feel but I'll give you my opinion. It's fine to root for former Pats player once they move on to another team, although, not when they play the Patriots. If you are rooting for Vinatieri to make a game winning kick against Houston, that's one thing but to do so against the Patriots means you're really a fan of Adam Vinatieri, not the New England Patriots because the end result would be a Colts victory.
-Tom Casale

In listening to a PFW podcast, I noticed you guys were pretty critical of Daniel Graham, even going so far as to say, "he only catches half the balls thrown to him." Hasn't Graham been consistently one of the best blocking TE's in the NFL over the past couple of years? During the Cincy game, Graham made some huge blocks that sprung Maroney for some of his long runs. Though his catching can be sketchy, I think he is a great compliment to Watson and I think we need his run blocking to keep getting big plays from Maroney. Am I wrong here? It seems like everyone is already saying goodbye to Graham as he will be a free agent this offseason. Am I the only one who wants him on this team?Elliot LeBoeuf

Everything you said is 100 percent correct. Now, let me ask you a question: Is Keyshawn Johnson a good player? Sure he is although he never warranted being selected No. 1 overall in the draft. Graham is a good player and someone that's important to the Patriots success on offense. However, the team traded up in the first round to get him and it wasn't so he could be an extra tackle. In college, Graham was a receiving machine, especially once he got into the open field. He's shown glimpses of that in the NFL (Atlanta last year) but not enough to warrant where he was selected in the draft. Teams draft tight ends in the fifth and sixth round to do what Graham does. So, while he's a solid, important contributor to the Patriots success, I would have to say that Graham never became the player the Patriots envisioned him being when they spent a first-round draft pick on him.
-Tom Casale

I was wondering what Vinatieri's numbers were his rookie year? The problems that Gostkowski is having I would think have to be expected, as long as they eventually go away. So what were Vinatieri's numbers early on, when did he become Automatic Adam?Ryan Oak

Vinatieri's first year in the league was 1996 where he connected on 27-of-35 field goal attempts. That comes out to 77.1 percent of his kicks, a solid percentage for a first-year kicker. He also had one attempt blocked. Vinatieri was considered one of the NFL's best kickers for a while but his legend obviously grew to monumental status in 2001, with his two kicks against the Raiders in the snow and the Super Bowl winner against the Rams.

I wouldn't worry about Gostkowski quite yet. Has he had some early struggles? Sure but his kickoffs have been great and as long as he improves as the season goes on, he and the Patriots will be fine. If he doesn't improve and keeps missing kicks, Bill Belichick will bring in somebody else to do the job. That's how they run things in New England and Gostkowski and every other player on the team knows that if they don't do their job, they'll be replaced. It's that simple.
-Tom Casale

Is it just me, or does it seem like no matter how off track the passing game is, there really isn't a team in our division that can keep us out of the playoffs? Now if that's the case, do you think the offense will get in sync enough to win come January?Jae Anziano

I think the offense is already improving. When a team losses virtually their entire receiving corps from the previous season, they're not going to look like the greatest passing offense of all-time in the first couple of weeks. It takes time for a quarterback and his receivers to build chemistry. After some early struggles, Brady and his receivers are starting to put it together and I imagine by the end of the season, the Patriots offense will be hitting on all cylinders.

On paper, it doesn't look like any team in the division can unseat the Patriots this year. Although, the Bills and Jets are a little better than most people thought they would be and should be even better next season. Although after losing by a combined 81-7, those teams didn't look very good last week. Throw the Dolphins into the mix and the AFC East is looking like it could be a very tough division in 2007. This year though, it's still the Patriots and everyone else.
-Tom Casale

Why in the world would anyone want to trade a 1st Rounder for Porter? If anything I would rather take the risk of signing free agent WR Charles Rogers because then at least he could be cut without a significant loss. I know this may be crazy, but what about (I know, not going to happen) the Pats get good ole friend Terry Glenn back? I have always thought that he has had such great athleticism and talent at the WR position.Alex Zaro

First off, I would never trade a first-round pick for Jerry Porter. I think he's a pretty good receiver with baggage. I'll give up a third-round pick and nothing more. Plus, he wants more money so the Patriots would have to redo his contract. In my opinion, he's an overrated player that causes more problems than he's worth and the Patriots don't need that headache to worry about.

How exactly are the Patriots supposed to get Glenn back? I don't know if you are aware but the Patriots just can't go out and get any player they want. The Cowboys are very happy with Glenn so if you were referring to a trade, that wouldn't happen in a million years. I'm not sure what else you are referring to but Glenn returning to New England isn't an option because he's under contract with the Cowboys and they love him in Dallas.
-Tom Casale

I can't help but notice in the current season we are having trouble keeping the pocket open I know we've had changes in the offensive line and have started to exercise our running game but what measures are we taking to increase the amount of time in the pocket for Brady?Natosha A

I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. After playing poorly against the Bills, I think the offensive line's pass blocking has been pretty good. Brady has only been sacked five times and two of those were the result of blind side blitzes (Takeo Spikes and Kerry Rhodes) that teams can't do much about. So far this year, I think the offensive line has done a tremendous job run blocking and a solid job in pass protection.
-Tom Casale

What's with all these people floating trade ideas to bring in yet another WR who doesn't know the system? Excluding Troy Brown the Patriots just haven't had big name talent at WR while Brady has been leading them to Super Bowls. I bet a lot of these fans are the same ones that complained the Pats draft was top heavy with offensive players, but after the Denver game they complain that the team isn't surrounding Brady with the talent he needs to be successful. I'd much rather see the Patriots use their remaining salary cap space on Seymour's option bonus and extensions for guys like Graham and Koppen.Paul Tomlinson

I agree with you. I don't think the Patriots should bring in any big-name receivers. Now, seeing that they didn't have many receivers on the roster, the team signed Jabar Gaffney on Monday and he should be able to come in and help the passing game a little bit. Anything can happen with the Patriots – as we all know – but now that we are five games into the season, I just don't see the Patriots bringing in a disgruntled receiver from another team, when their own receivers are still building chemistry with Brady.
-Tom Casale

What ever happened to Bethel Johnson? Is he still in the NFL? And what about the guy we traded him for?
Bud Romboli

As far as I know, Bethel Johnson isn't on an NFL roster and that's his own fault. The Patriots, and I imagine the Saints, did everything they could to give this guy a chance to succeed and he just didn't get it and probably never will.

The guy they traded for, Johnathan Sullivan, was released on Monday to make room for Gaffney.
-Tom Casale

"It's just frustrating because I think we're the better team by far and the score doesn't show that," Houshmandzadeh said after the game. "It shows that they're the better team by far and I don't think anyone believes that. They don't have anything we don't have other than three Super Bowls. It's sure not talent. Anyone can see that." Can you believe this guy? If the Pats meet the Bengals in the playoffs, that's some good bulletin board material. Are all Bengals stupid?Kevin Coskren

I believe you are using the quotes from my story in Patriots Football Weekly. I was in the Bengals locker room after the game and was appalled by the reaction from most of their players. Rudi Johnson was the one exception. He was as mad as any player I've ever seen after a loss and while he was telling the media how bad the Bengals got their butts whooped, I thought he might actually strike me. That's how made he was. Houshmandzadeh – and some of the other Bengals players – acted like they just won the game. In my opinion, the Bengals do too much talking and not enough backing it up on the field. Sure, they'll blow out Houston and Tennessee but look what they have done against the better teams in the NFL. The last two years at home, Cincinnati has lost to the Steelers twice, Colts and Patriots. Not to mention coming up short in Jacksonville last year as well.

The Bengals are a team too busy coming up with catchy slogans and making up cute little checklists to worry about important things like tackling. If they were as tough as their talk indicated, the Bengals might beat a good team every now and then instead of racking up all of their victories against the NFL's bottom feeders. That line, "They don't have anything we don't have other than three Super Bowls," is classic. Not only does it show what kind of team the Cincinnati is, it came after a 25-point loss at home. Great job T.J., you really showed them. Now, instead of getting better on the field, why don't you and the rest of the Bengals go out and make another rap video while your team gives up 200 yards rushing per game.
-Tom Casale

I was right yet again. When the Pats need him. Faulk fumbles the ball on a punt return that almost cost the Pats the game. This happens way to often. When are the people going to understand this? They need to trade this guy. There are a lot of teams that have no wins that could use him. And the Pats could get something for him. A first or second round pick. When the Pats need him. He makes a mistake! He's not worth it.Matt

What were you right about? You think the Patriots can get a first or second round pick for Kevin Faulk? If you're going to write in and say you were right about something, don't show your ignorance by suggesting that the Patriots could get a first or second round pick for Faulk. Have you ever heard of Corey Dillon? The Pats got him for a second round pick. Now according to you, and since you're always right, Faulk is a bum. So what team is going to trade a high draft pick for him? This e-mail is classic. First of all, I love Faulk but he's nothing more than a good third-down back and special teams player. I don't think the Packers or the Raiders are dying to give up a top ten pick in the draft for that. Then you go on telling us how bad he is and expect some team to trade a first-round pick for him. Apparently Faulk isn't the only one who makes mistakes sometimes, Matt. At no point in your rambling e-mail, did you even come close to an intelligent thought. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.
-Tom Casale

What was the point of Tom Brady taking a knee when the Pats where in the red zone? 6 yards to go, why not try Dillon or Maroney 4 times for the end zone?Kacper K

I imagine that was Belichick not wanting to run up the score. However, you bring up a good point. One of the head-to-head tiebreakers is best net points in common games, although it's ninth on the list and almost never comes into play. I know in the past, when teams play a division opponent, they'll try to score as many points as they can even if they're behind. Now, this would matter if the Dolphins had a chance to win the division but sitting at 1-4 – three games behind the Patriots – that seems extremely unlikely, so I doubt that extra seven points is going to matter. Taking a knee last Sunday was the right thing to do. The game was over and there was no reason risking an injury to a key player on a meaningless play late in the game.
-Tom Casale

Don't get me wrong, I want the Pats to win as much as anyone--but Sunday seemed to be another lackluster performance by Brady, at best. Is it just me or there a definite lack of excitement and swagger to him versus years back? Yeah, yeah, I know too much was made of his "body language" thing a few games back--but watching him Sunday, on the field, on the sidelines, he just seems to lack energy...and maybe you guys will say it's 'quiet confidence' but even with touchdown passes, he shows that he is moping around about something yet. Off the field he made the statement that he has learned not to worry about things out of his control, supposedly after the Branch debacle--then does it again the next week with regard to the loss in Denver last year. Time to walk the walk. On the field his passes lack pop, his demeanor is seemingly not a point to rally around or to inspire, and even when he does complete a pass--the receiver must reach back, up, or dive for it. Maybe if the Pats wouldn't squirrel their money away so much and go out and spend 5-6 million on Randy moss, Brady might develop a fire in his attitude and outward appearance, which so far this year is sorely lacking.Joe Duquain

Did you just say it's time for Brady to "walk the walk?" You know what? That doesn't even deserve a response. Some of the New England fans are amazing. The guy was key in saving a dismal franchise, led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles and put the team on his back last year and took them to the playoffs, despite having no running game and being injured. Boy, it's about time that bum starts earning his paycheck. Wow. I can't believe what I read sometimes.
-Tom Casale

Is Charles Rogers still here? Will he be signed? What kind of ability does he have? PLEASE answer in the affirmative and may he be forever changed to a Steven Neil type.Dan Sousa

It was reported that Rogers was in for a tryout and he'll be signed if the Patriots think he can help the team, but in my opinion the last time he had any ability was at Michigan State. If this was five years ago and the Patriots were in the NCAA instead of the NFL, he would be a great signing. I just wish another team would sign this guy so people will stop thinking he has one ounce of talent because they know his name. With the team bringing in Jabar Gaffney on Monday, hopefully we can put an end to all the Charles Rogers talk. The Patriots worked out both receivers and came to the conclusion that Gaffney was a better fit for the team. Also, I have no idea what the Stephen Neal thing means. Neal was a college wrestler who wasn't even drafted. Rogers was taken with the second pick in the draft. I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say "Stephen Neal-type." Rogers won't be as good as Neal is if he lives to be 100. See what hard work and determination gets you?
-Tom Casale

Troy Brown just keeps on doing it, offense, defense, special teams. For 14 years now he has been making big play after big play providing the Pats with leadership and coming to play every week like the other team stole his bike. His career stats while solid are not dazzling, 600 some catches, somewhere between 5-8 special team TDs if you count playoffs (including a punt return in the 2001 AFC championship that turned the game and possibly the franchise around). My question to you does this man, who I think is one of the greatest all around football players ever; have any chance at the Hall of Fame? Or will his stats (which don't tell the whole story) hold him back?RL Flamisch

The only Hall of Fame Troy has a chance of getting into is the Patriots Hall of Fame. His stats won't keep him out; the fact that he doesn't deserve to be there will keep him out. I love Troy and I think he's been a great football player over the years but let's be realistic here. Art Monk isn't in the Hall of Fame and he was a tremendous NFL receiver. I don't think Troy Brown will ever even get on the Hall of Fame ballot. He's been a very good football player and has done a lot for the Patriots both on and off the field. If they had a Hall of Fame for heart and hard work, Troy should be the first player inducted. Again, he's a lock the Patriots Hall of Fame but the NFL Hall of Fame? No way.
-Tom Casale

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine when the WR Hall of Fame question came up. Why is that Art Monk is unable to get in though he was outstanding in his days. Also, of the current generation - what are the chances of Marvin Harrison, Hines Ward, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss?Kalyan Chatrati

Can you imagine these last two e-mails came in back-to-back? What are the chances of that happening? I think it's a joke that Art Monk isn't in the Hall of Fame. That's what happens when you shut your mouth and just play football. I used to be a big Michael Irvin fan back in the day but if he gets in over Monk, there should be an investigation in my opinion. Art Monk deserves to be in the Hall and it's a shame that he isn't.

Out of the guys you mentioned, Harrison is the one lock. He's in for sure. Then I would put Moss second. He still has quite a few years left and he should be near the top of the list in every major receiving record before he's done, unless he plays the next five years in Oakland. Then, he's in trouble. I would say Harrison for sure, Moss most likely and no to Ward and Owens. Ward will probably end up like Monk where he's close for years and never gets in. No way those guys vote Owens into the Hall of Fame and quite frankly, I don't think he's done enough to warrant being there. Those are just my thoughts but if I had a vote, I wouldn't vote for Owens and that has nothing to do with his off-field problems. I just don't think he deserves to be in. His numbers are comparable to Moss' numbers right now but Moss has more years left to play and will leave T.O. in the dust before it's all said and done.
-Tom Casale

Every time anyone talks about the Patriots they say, "the Pats can't throw because of the receivers". I have a problem with this because of the Eagles, Bears, Jaguars and Ravens. These teams are getting it done through the air despite their receiver. I have watched Brady throw numerous passes into the feet of or overthrow receivers and numerous passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Is the loss of Weis catching up? Is the loss of Branch and Givens that devastating and that the receivers were actually carrying Brady? He has missed a lot of open receivers. It's frustrating to watch this team struggle to throw.Mark Hadfield

Look at this way Mark: Drew Bledsoe – the most overrated quarterback in NFL history – could still be the Patriots quarterback. Has Brady struggled at times this year? Sure but the team is still 4-1 and sooner or later the passing game is going to catch up with running game and defense. Again, a struggling Brady has his team at 4-1 because he's still managing the game well and he's a winner. The passing game hasn't hit its stride yet and the team is off to a 4-1 start. I'm sorry but how frustrating can that be? The Colts are 5-0 and not playing all that well either. If you want frustration, call a Raiders fan and then you'll find out what being frustrated really means. By the way, the last time I looked neither the Ravens nor Jaguars had a high-flying aerial attack. Jacksonville is ranked 16th in passing offense, while the Ravens are 28th. The Patriots are currently ranked 18th, so if they move up two more spots or drop 10 spots, I guess that will make you happy.
-Tom Casale

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