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Ask PFW: Pats fans across the nation

This week’s mailbag helps unite Patriots fans across the country as well as answer other team related questions.

I found this list of bars to watch Pats games in California on They are a Virginia based Patriots fan club - Great guys to tailgate with.Here's the list:

1545 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA
(714) 300-ESPN

National Sports Grill
101 East Sandpoint Drive, Santa Ana, CA
(714) 979-3700
They have a small, but loyal group of Patriots fans on Sunday's

Longboard Grill
1466 Garnett Avenue, San Diego, CA
(858) 270-4030

San Diego Brewing Company
10450 Friars Road, San Diego, CA
(619) 284-2739
They have a small following of Patriots fans here. One TV dedicated to all Patriots games.

Sunshine Company
5028 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA
(619) 222-0722

Ricky's Sports Bar & Grill
15028 Hesperian Blvd, San Leandro, CA
(510) 352-0200 / Web Site
Despite being "THE" Raiders Bar, this place is very friendly towards fans of all teams. And it's HUGE, with 5 big screens and 65 TVs. They have the Sunday Ticket and show all the games. Ricky's has a small, but loyal group of Patriots fans!

Sonny Mclean's Irish Pub*
2615 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA
(310) 449-1811 / Web Site
Sonny's is a haven for Boston fans in California
Rochester, N.Y.

Hey guys, great job, especially at coaxing people off the ledge re: Milloy. It's a long season and we're not as bad as we looked this past week -- I AM, however, as bitter as I was then -- just as we were not as DOMINANT as we looked on opening night last year vs. the Steelers.I'm writing to make one of the other questioners, and you guys as well, aware of a bar called Sonny McLean's, which is in Santa Monica on Wilshire Blvd. It is a haven for Mass-holes and New Englanders of every ilk, including the cute, sexy female variety. Everyone has on some form of Celtics, SAWX, Pats and Bruins gear, everyone's friendly and pumped up to meet other displaced New Englanders, they've got all the Red Sox and Pats games, shockingly good bar food, the occasional pop-in by Sox quasi-owner Tom Werner, darts, air hockey, Ms. Pac-Man -- I mean, it's just a life-saver for those of us on the Left (read: wrong) Coast.Hope this helps and I hope you'll look me up if you're ever out here. It's Cheers West, and all are welcome.P.S. No I don't own Sonny McLean's (AKA Drunky McStupid's), I'm just a loyal patron.

Los Angeles, Calif.

re: Steve Campagna of Claremont, CA. a neat lil' Boston Sports Bar outside San Diego. We found this place during our trip to last year's Super Bowl City. It's run by a father-daughter (Quincey) transplants. An old beach neighborhood bar & restaurant completely redone in a Boston Sports accent. Plenty of New England folks always on hand. Ocean Beach Bar (The OB) 1956 Bacon St. Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA (619)269-2380 owner Alicia Lewis & Kevin Cole. I hope it's not too far out for you.
Bob Grande
Saugus, Mass.

I am answering a question to Steve CampagnaClaremont, Calif. who asked where can a Pats fan living in "la la" land go to watch the pats Play??My only answer is here in Colorado Springs at a bar called Bombers. It's a safe haven for us Pats fans here in Mile High Country.Also, I just want to say to all you doubting Thomas's. Forget Milloy. Get on with the rest of the season. I still believe.

Craig Walker
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Hey in response to the post from Steve Campagna in Claremont, CA. While it's not going to affect him up in California. Here in San Antonio, TX, there is a place called "Fatso's Sports Garden", where there are a lot of actual PATS fans (as opposed to the bandwagon-jumpers who showed up at the beginning of last season, but mysteriously disappeared around week 6!). We could use as many People down here as possible (help we're surrounded by Dallas fans AHHHHHHHH!)
Mark Hitchcock
San Antonio, Texas

Great rundown and excellent salary cap detail/examples on the Lawyer Milloy debacle. I've already sent two tirades to Paul. I have not felt this bad about one of our Boston based Pro Sports teams since Steve Kuberski wore #33 at the Gahden. We are in for a long, long season.P.S. Sidelines Sports Bar in NW ABQ is where the Patriot faithful gather each fall. And yes, there was a #36 jersey on hand Sunday.

Brian Cooper
Albuquerque, N.M.

These were just a few of the emails we got in response to the search for good places for Patriots fans across the country to gather and watch games. Sonny McLean's must be a great place as we literally got dozens of positive emails regarding it as a safe haven for fans of the red, white and blue.
Andy Hart

Has Damon Huard been bumped down officially to third string?
Gary Ling,
Tampa, Fla.

Short answer, no. Huard has been listed as the backup quarterback for each of the first two games of the season, with Rohan Davey as the third, emergency quarterback. But over the course of the preseason and mop-up time against the Bills in the opener, Davey has seen more action than Huard. With Huard in the final year of his contract in New England it is likely that the coaching staff is using the reps Davey has received to see if he can be the answer to backup Tom Brady in 2004. If not, and if Huard goes his own way through free agency, then the team will again be on the search for another veteran backup.
Andy Hart

Why does the Patriots offensive line have such a difficult time in blowing defenders off the ball and establishing a sound running game? Does Coach Bill B have them practice their run blocking during camp and regular season practice? In the 70s and 80s teams won with running the ball and controlling the clock. The Patriots seem to turn the ball over to the other offense much to quickly. Why can't the Patriots practice their run blocking and get bruising half backs like Earl Campbell, John Riggins, or an Eric Dickerson style back? Why has that not been on their radar over the past few years or even now? Does Charlie Weis need a football consultant?
Paul Goldberg
Portsmouth, N.H.

Boy Paul, you certainly let the shots fly in that email. Let's do a little checklist here. You successfully questioned the offensive line, the head coach, the running backs, the coordinators and New England's entire game planning strategy in the course of seven sentences, that is something any true, pessimistic New England sports fan would be proud of. But some of your criticism and offensive worries are warranted. Over the last year and a half there is no question this offense has not tried to impose its will on opposing teams through the running game. While some of that probably comes from an offensive line that is built with somewhat questionable talent and has dealt with injuries, it also has to do with a schematic decision to spread teams out and throw the ball. Without a true workhorse, big-time back the likes of the Hall of Famers you mentioned, this team will win (and lose, but that isn't something you can generally bring up with hardcore Pats fans) with a pass-heavy offensive attack that uses the run as a change of pace, and at the very most to run out the clock on wins.
Andy Hart

Say, how would Bill react if Bob Kraft called him in for a chat and said, "Hey, Bill. Ya know we just talked with Charlie and Romeo your Off and Def coordinators and since they wouldn't take a pay cut, we fired their butts. Now go out and coach a good game Sunday!" How would he take it? People have feelings and they affect performance and desire! Think Bill would feel all warm and fuzzy and give it 110%? Sometimes MGMT JUST DOESNT GET IT!!!!!!!!! Wreck a team that had a chance to go deep into playoffs. Freakin' idiots!
Scott Mainella
Dover, N.H.

Scott you bring up an interesting hypothetical scenario. I think that is a good comparison, but in the end even without his friends and assistant coaches, Belichick would still be expected to go out and do his job. That's what he is paid (very well I might add) to do. Players work under the same expectations; they just tend to voice their opinions a bit more than the head coach might.
Andy Hart

Who ended up being the team's defensive captain?
Mick Welch
Newark, N.J.

Since you kept the question short and quick, Mick, I will do the same with the answer. The team elected six captains. Defensively they are Richard Seymour, Ted Johnson and Tedy Bruschi. Tom Brady and Troy Brown were elected on the offensive side of the ball, while Larry Izzo continues to the lead the special teams units. And if the answer to this causes you to lose a bet, don't welch out on the payment.
Andy Hart

If the patriots were close to going over the salary cap, How can teams like the 49ers and the Buccaneers afford all the high paid superstars that they have. In comparison to a lot of teams the patriots don't have many standout superstars. Ex. Mike Vick, Terrell Owens. I'm a patriot fan but there is a huge difference in the salary of Terrell Owens as compared to a David Patten.
Derek Jones
Syracuse, N.Y.

Derek you are essentially looking for an explanation of the entire salary cap structure, something that would take hundreds of pages of space. Some teams haven't even mastered working with the cap yet. But just in terms of big-name players and big-time contracts, the perception isn't always the reality. As we have written many times, most big contracts are back loaded with money that may never be seen. And when you talk in terms of big signing bonuses and teams paying out big money all at once to stars, some of that comes back to hurt them in the future. You can put off money on the books to future years, but eventually that type of financial style catches up to a team and generally forces significant roster cuts. In today's fiscal structure teams essentially have to get as many players as possible to play for as little as possible, and when you choose to pay out big money to a few stars you need to make sure those players play up to that level. You can't afford to overpay underachieving stars and still hope to field a deep, well-rounded team.
Andy Hart

Thank you for responding to my rather lengthy questions posted 9/9 (see archives). I have been a subscriber to Patriots Football Weekly since Vol. 1 No. 15. I am a proud and loyal Patriot fan, even when they were 1 and 15 and even today when they were blown out by the Bills this past Sunday. Your writing styles are excellent and very interesting. Patriot fans who are not subscribers to PFW are missing out on a lot. Fred, Bryan, Paul and Andy bring awesome insights into what is happening behind the scenes in Patriot land. Most of the contributors are pretty good and bring unique perspectives on football and other teams. Keep up the excellent work and don't get too ticked off when we write something that sometimes comes across the wrong way in writing or mean things that are said. Thank you for responding to both of my emails in the past few weeks. It is greatly appreciated. GO PATS!!!!
Phil Cressey
Baldwin, Maine

That kind of shameless brown nosing won't get you anywhere in this world Phil. But it will get you a spot on my Ask PFW page every time. The real clincher was referencing each of us by name. That was a nice touch.
Andy Hart

With Christian Fauria still starting (at least in Week 1) ahead of Daniel Graham, does that imply that Graham is developing more slowly than expected considering he was a 1st round pick?
Fred Lee
Stamford, Conn.

This is a tough one for me, Fred. I really want to give Graham the benefit of the doubt, but he needs to show some production soon. As the 21st pick in the draft, a guy Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli traded up to acquire, the former Colorado star needs to begin making plays. With just 2 receptions for 4 yards through two games, a guy who was supposed to be an explosive addition to the New England offense isn't even a blip on the radar screen. Fortunately Fauria continues to be a productive red zone target and option in Graham's slow development, but sooner or later the honeymoon will end on the second-year player's career in New England and he will start being compared to Dolly Parton's biggest asset. He has all the physical tools to be a strong weapon for Tom Brady, but at some point you must leave potential in the rear view mirror and produce.
Andy Hart

In the preseason, Tom Brady aired it out. I'm not talking about deep passes, but passes over 10 - 15 yards. But in the season opener, he reverted back to the dink and dunk passes. I don't know if the passing plays that Brady runs are predetermined on who's going to get the ball, but somehow, most passing plays look like another long handoff. One of Brady's strengths is decision making, then why not let him drop back and throw the ball? They got capable receivers everywhere. I know some of Brady's mistake were his own decision, but it always seems like the play calling doesn't give Brady that much of chance of making plays.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Mark you are in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale and you are worrying about the Patriots offense? I know you are probably a diehard Pats fan, but shouldn't you be making passes at some of the gorgeous women of those Florida beaches rather than analyzing the passes of the New England offense? (And if you are married, then I understand and disregard the poor humor.) But really, welcome to the New England offense. Short passes replace some runs and yards after the catch are key to success. Brady does do a good job of finding the open receiver, but generally those guys are within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. But the team has made attempts in the preseason to stretch the field a bit more. It wasn't necessarily a bomb, but the 26-yard touchdown to Deion Branch last week was one to the best passes I have seen this team complete in some time. More of those would be greatly appreciated on my part, and would open up more space for the underneath passing game that has been this team's preference for the past year-plus.
Andy Hart

This is really not a question but a response to Betty's comment on the little Pats fans pictures. I happen to like seeing them. A waste of paper? I think that is a big insult to those who have submitted their photos. You might as well be saying that the young children in these pictures are a waste. Nice going, Betty.
Blackstone, Mass.

Nice going, Pam. I agree. We print letters when we get them, but a picture of a young Pats fan also shows us the fandom of the future. I also can't believe there is this much thought and animosity in regards to a quarter of one page in the paper. But those interested in sending letters to PFW, even those sending them simply so we don't print more photos of adorable young Pats fans, can send them to PO Box 9160, Foxborough, MA 02035 or email them to
Andy Hart

What happened to Ethan Kelley (draft pick) ? I never heard his name or noticed him in any of the preseason games yet he was deemed a great pick. He's a big boy as I recall. Can't we use him on the line ? Can he play ?
Franklin, Mass.

Kelley is currently on the Patriots practice squad. While he showed flashes of ability in limited preseason action, he didn't have a realistic shot of making the roster on a crowded defensive line. But at 6-2, 303 pounds Kelley has the build of a nose tackle. With time in the system and a year to work on his skills there is a chance he could compete for a roster spot in New England in the future.
Andy Hart

Have you guys heard any rumors about who the Pats might bring in to fill-out the 53 man roster? They freed up some considerable money with Milloy's cut and could do some dealings. Or do you think they might just keep some safety-net money incase of injuries and a need to find a FA arises quickly? Also I need to give you guys your dues; this new segment, Pats radio every weekday, and still maintaining the quality of PFW. Don't mean to brown nose but Pats fans are lucky to have such a good network around the team.
Pittsburgh, Pa.

While you are giving us your dues, don't be shy about sending a check too. We are never opposed to gifts of appreciation from our loyal and thankful readers. Now for your question. The team activated Russ Hochstein from the practice squad for the Eagles game.
Andy Hart

The following question and answer were posted on the board:"The salary cap is talked about so much in the NFL, but what happens if a team is over the salary cap at the beginning of the season?JarrodTrumbull, Conn.Impossible. The team would be forced to cut players or do whatever is necessary to get in compliance immediately. No team is allowed to be over the cap during the league year, which runs from March 1 to Feb. 28/29. No team is ever really over the cap. When you hear that, it means that a team is going to be over the cap when the new league year starts on March 1 with all of the money currently scheduled to count against the next year's cap. You usually hear that phrase a lot in February. "The 49ers are $34 million over the cap." Well they're not really over. They are scheduled to be over so they must reduce salary to be in compliance when the new league year starts."If this is correct, and the Patriots would not be over the cap until March 1, then it was not "mandatory" to cut Milloy until after the playing season ended. The timing and the effect on the team were obvious. In the AFC East, one divisional loss might be the difference between winning the division....or coming in last. I think the Pats need a new Capologist so Belichick has better advice.

Rob Jones
Boston, Mass.

You are forgetting the salary cap change that takes place prior to the first game. Throughout the offseason only the top 51 players on a team's roster count toward the salary cap. But just before week 1 all players must fit under the cap, including players on injured reserve and other lists, as well as the practice squad and the active 53-man roster. It was this situation, the change in the accounting rules that takes place just after training camp, which forced the team to make a decision on Milloy.
Andy Hart

Hi...I'm a new Patriot fan since my favorite qb went to live "back east"...Kliff, where are you??? Symons is doing a great job, but Texas Tech still loves ya...please tell me how injured reserve works and if/when we can see Kingsbury in action...Thanks
Lubbock, Texas

Just a quick aside, but we get more posts on this board about Kingsbury than about half the other members of the team combined. I know the guy put up ridiculous numbers at Texas Tech, but I am still shocked with his popularity. That said, Kingsbury is on injured reserve and can't play or practice this season. He will be with the team getting treatment, attending meetings and essentially working toward the future. Just the fact that he is still around means the team has at least a little interest in him, or else they would have just negotiated an injury settlement and let him go. I know your thirst for Kingsbury information is strong, but you will have to wait until next spring's mini camp before you have much on-field action to talk about.
Andy Hart

Hi Brian Morry,I don't like you.

Bill Brewster
La Jolla, Calif.

To quote Happy Gilmore, "Now, that wasn't very nice." As much as Paul, Fred and I take shots at Bryan, we like to keep it in the family. Plus you are going to make people think that I am emailing Ask PFW under the name Bill Brewster from La Jolla. I swear these are all legitimate emails. I don't write them. I just answer them.
Andy Hart

I want to start out and say I am a Patriots fan. This Milloy issue is over, lets move on. My concern and question is that Tom Brady has not been listed as a top five QB in any sportscasters list. Why? 28 touchdowns last year!!! Do you (PFW) think Tom is underrated or average? Thanks
Marty Novello,
Stoughton, Mass.

Anyone who doesn't think Tom Brady is as solid NFL quarterback is not being honest. Even PFW's Paul Perillo, a Drew Bledsoe backer to the end, admits Brady is legit. He was better last year than he was in his first year as a starter in 2001, even though he did fade a bit in the second half. Those lists aren't generally worth the paper they are printed on, other than to generate debate with fans and the media. As a Pats fan you should know that stars and fantasy football type players don't win games, teams do. This team proved that in 2001 and Brady is more than capable of leading a team in that direction again.
Andy Hart

Where can you subscribe to PFW? I have been reading your comments on the Patriots website. And I have really enjoyed it. Is it all about Football? Even better yet is it all about the Patriots? I am a huge patriots fan and I have taped every game for the past 8 years. To the point that during pre-season, I can't pick up the games on tv, so I actually have someone who lives in another province tape the game for me, and overnight it to me by mail. Crazy huh?
James Marshall
Saint John, NB

Not to take a shot here, because I appreciate your readership and dedication to the team, but the paper is called Patriots Football Weekly. So having never read it myself, I would assume it is about the Patriots, football and probably comes out on a weekly basis. Just a long shot. By the way do you know what Entertainment Weekly is about and how often it is published? Just kidding and again sorry for the sarcasm, but it was too easy. You can order PFW by calling 1-800-494-PATS or logging on to
Andy Hart

Why is it that other teams ie Tampa bucs'can take defensive players who are not big names, and make them shine in their system? The patriots on the other hand seem to have trouble transitioning even their high draft picks into high caliber, high motor players. I just don't understand this and I have followed this team for twenty years.
Norm Bone
Port Charlotte, Fla.

First of all, I know we all think the Tampa defense is the best thing since sliced bread, but they are also the team of the moment. (And the Carolina Panthers did a pretty good job of knocking them off their championship pedestal this past weekend.) But they also have more than "system" players leading them to success. In Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, Warren Sapp and John Lynch the Bucs have some of the best players at their positions in the NFL. The depth and speed of the defense, as well as the dominating players, are the factors that make the defense so good. While I think you can honestly question some of the draft choices the Patriots have made, comparing the team's production on the field to the Bucs is unfair and mischaracterized in your question.
Andy Hart

What does it mean that the patriots will take a salary cap hit next year because of Milloy's contract? Does it mean that Milloy will still get paid by the patriots even though he is cut? Please clarify the whole thing for me, thanks.
Boston, Mass.

Under the salary cap when a player receives a signing bonus that amount, for salary cap figuring purposes, is divided over the life of the contract. So if player A gets a $5 million signing bonus on a 5-year contract, it goes on the salary cap books as $1 million for each year of the deal plus the player's salary for that year. But when a player is cut those cap figures are accelerated. If he is cut before June 1 in a cap year, any remaining bonus money goes entirely on that year's cap. If he is cut after June 1 the portion of the bonus that was already going to count on the cap for that year remains as such, and the rest of the bonus appears on the following year's cap. So since Milloy was cut in Sept. his cap number for this year will be approximately $1.4, while just over $4 million will go on the cap for next year thanks to the remaining pro-rated bonus money. The team has already paid the money out to Milloy, but for accounting purposes under the salary cap rules, it will still count toward the 2004 limit.
Andy Hart

I was wondering, how long does a long snapper have to snap to a holder and punter, in both yards and feet?
Moosup, Conn.

While these are not rules, merely general procedures, the long snapper must get the ball 15 yards (45 feet) to the punter and 7-8 yards (21-24 feet) to the holder for a PAT or field goal attempt.
Andy Hart

What is going on with Dan Klecko? Why is he being left off the game day roster? Do you have any insight on that? He had a pretty good pre-season and I felt he would get an honest chance to make some contributions to the New England Defense. How can he prove himself if he is not even dressed for a game? Can you enlighten us on any information about Klecko? Can you ask Belichick about him? Thanks, it is hard getting any information about him.
Clinton, Mass.

Much like Kliff Kingsbury, I know Klecko has a lot of fans out there. But let's be realistic, at the very best he is a player without a true position. He may make up for that problem with a high effort level, hard work and skill, but at this point he is a work in progress. He cleared his first hurdle by making the team. Now he will have to work toward being active for a game, playing on special teams and then potentially seeing some defensive playing time. But at this time, if Klecko is forced into significant action on defense during games it probably won't speak well for the health and playing success of the unit at this early part of the season.
Andy Hart

Everybody has an opinion about Lawyer Milloy's performance, but I don't think it's possible to grade safeties by watching TV tapes. Most of the time, the safeties aren't even in the frame. Do the Patriots allow the media have access to coaching tapes?
Phil Audet
Austin, Texas

Are you joking Phil. We can barely get a good answer to a question at a press conference and you think they give us the coach's tape. Good one. But I do agree with you that you can't really judge a good deal of NFL action, specifically some positions such as offensive/defensive line and safety on TV footage. But them letting us look at the coach's tapes so we can critique them even more, that really is a good one.
Andy Hart

With Kevin Faulk playing better than Smith so far this season, is it likely he will be the starter at halfback for week three?
Danny Williams
Houma, La.

I am going to keep this one simple and give you the answer that Bill Belichick has been giving all offseason and early on this year. Both players will play. Both players will be productive. How that plays out exactly, I don't know. Sorry to be evasive, actually no I am not, I could get used to this not answering questions thing. Maybe I will go into politics, or become an NFL head coach.
Andy Hart

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