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Ask PFW: Pats Rolling Along

With the Patriots rolling along at 6-1, they prepare to host the undefeated Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. A look into that game and more in this edition of Ask PFW.

Note: Because we are getting back early Tuesday morning and have the day off, these questions were answered before the Patriots-Vikings Monday night game was played. Please take that under advisement when reading the answers. Thank you.

Did you catch rookie Jackson's touchdown dance after scoring against the Bills? He actually flailed so wildly that he inadvertently biffed Ben Watson in the facemask. Watson ran over to congratulate Jackson, but the rookie was too busy making a fool out of himself. Watson patiently watched and waited for his chance to give the youngster a celebratory hug. How do you think the veterans will address this absurdity, if at all? I have recently read on your web site that Jackson's work ethic has been questioned. Is there any truth to that?
Sean Brady

Andy's response to Bryce about Chad Jackson's TD dance was a good one, but I think the reason Watson held back when he saw Jackson dancing was because he (Watson) had gotten flagged a couple weeks ago for being the second guy in a post-touchdown celebration (which is an idiotic new rule). Belichick hates someone making the same mistake twice.Jay W

Sean, didn't Corey Dillon do a dance after he scored in the same game? If Jackson was making a fool out of himself, than what was Dillon doing when he was jumping around like a frog? I know Dillon is a much more established player but Jackson has a bit of showman in him. A lot of great NFL receivers do, I don't see anything wrong with that. If the veterans really have a problem with it I'm sure they'll talk to him, although I seriously doubt that's the case. Also, I have never heard anyone question his work ethic. From everything I've heard, his slow start is due to that lingering hamstring injury.

You make a good point about Watson, Jay. I never really thought of that until you mentioned it. I also think that he was just laughing at Jackson. I have no problem with the rookie dancing because many Patriots in recent years have done the same thing (Deion Branch). The only problem I have is the dance was awful. If Jackson expects to spend a lot of time in the end zone, he'll need to improve on his dance moves.
-Tom Casale

When the season was starting out the Patriots were far behind the take-away/give-away margin. I was wondering when the Patriots were going to improve their takeaways and then it seemed to happen. I have been searching all over for what the Pats margin is. Also what the other teams were at. I would also like to know where we rate in the NFL. So, I was wondering if you knew what the Pats are for takeaways and giveaways? Do you know where I can keep track of those stats? I know that when the Pats won the Super Bowl they were real up in the top ten. It's pretty important, right? It's funny and sad also that I don't hear much from the Pats. I think the players are of the consummate professional type. You don't see them on the NFL channel and such doing all sorts of "Look at me" self-promotion. I keep showing my grandsons what real men are supposed to act like. Keep up the great work from the information, insight and rumblings about the Pats.Nick Motzny

You're right about that being a very important stat. Actually, it's one of the most important stats to look at. If a team is turning the ball over and not creating turnovers, they aren't going to win many ball games. Before the Vikings game the Patriots were 3 in turnover differential, ranking them ninth in the NFL. We get the league stats sent to us every week. I've tried to find them online but haven't found a good place that carries that statistic. I know Stats, Inc. would have it but you need to pay for that service. If anyone knows of a web site where Nick can find this information for free, let us know.
-Tom Casale

Update: Thanks to people writing in, they have told me you can find this statistic on under "sortable stats." I looked there but must have missed it the first time I checked. Like I said in my original response, we get all the stats sent to us, so I don't look for them online much. Thanks for everyone who e-mailed in and I hope this helps.
-Tom Casale

It appears that Samuel is the best corner on the Patriots roster. I was hoping for more from Hobbs, but I don't see much from him this season. Other teams could be avoiding him, but I don't think that's the case. Do you guy's think the Pats will be able to resign Samuel? I hope they do.Derek Benard

Hobbs is off to a slow start this year but we all have to remember, he's only started a handful of games so far in his career. He didn't become a starter until midway through last season. I, and a lot of other Patriots fans, have high hopes for Hobbs but let's give him some time. Even Deion Sanders struggled in his first couple of seasons. He needs to step up his game, there's no question about that. Right now he's the third corner behind Samuel and Chad Scott and while he's not playing well at the moment, I'm willing to give him the rest of this season to see if he can turn the corner before I get too down on him. Although, I will say he's having a lot of trouble in the slot and that's a concern heading into this week's game with the Colts.

Samuel is playing great this year and that's good news and bad news for the Patriots. The bad news is his worth is increasing every week. When you look at some of the contracts that cornerbacks have signed in the last couple of seasons, the numbers are huge. Anthony Henry, Ken Lucas and Gary Baxter all received signing bonuses of over $10 million. While those three are all solid corners, are they any better than Samuel? I think the Patriots will have a chance to sign him if they want to give him a big contract. If not, he will go to free agency where teams will have no problem at all dishing out a ton of money for a good cornerback who has experience and Super Bowl rings. Hopefully the two sides will be able to come together.
-Tom Casale

I ask to you do you think the Pats would beat the Colts or Bears. I think that the good thing is that their both home games and it would be hypothetically speaking that because of the Colts injuries it might be easy to run but then again that's what I thought against the Bills. The Bears their weakness is the young QB who Samuels, Hobbs, Harrison, Vrabel, and Bruschi could influence Rex in the pocket. And force bad passes. Please tell me what you think about those two teams strengths and weaknesses?
Nathan Schwan

I think the Patriots will beat the Colts. They play their best against offensive-minded teams. I know the Colts gave it to them pretty good last year but I don't see the same thing happening this time around. The Patriots are too physical on both lines and will overpower the Colts, stuffing the run and at least controlling the passing game. They will also run the ball right at them like the Broncos did when they racked up 227 yards rushing.

I think the Bears are a different story because teams that are built around a strong defense can give the Patriots trouble. New England has the advantage of playing this game at home but it's one of those that can bog down and all of a sudden it comes down to an interception, fumble, kick return, missed field goal or something like that. I think the Patriots have the edge because of Brady but that's the tougher of the two games in my opinion. I actually believe the Colts are a better team than the Bears are but the Patriots matchup better against Indianapolis because of Chicago's stout defense.
-Tom Casale

No offense or anything but it seems like the past few years the Patriots injury report has been abnormally huge. Now I'm not going to place all the blame on our strength and conditioning coach however it is quite obvious that maybe he isn't doing enough to get the players in to tip top shape every year. I'm sorry if I find it a bit disappointing and ridiculous that almost every season now you find more than ten players on the injury report. So whether the Patriots need to make a firing or start drafting kids out of college that have titanium for bones something must be done!
Jeff Thomson

Actually Jeff, Mike Woicik is considered one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the NFL. He is the only player or head coach in the NFL to own six Super Bowl rings. I think fans want to blame him for injuries but you really can't place blame on a strength coach for a broken wrist. When you think about it, what could Woicik have done to prevent Rodney Harrison from blowing out his knee or Tedy Bruschi from breaking his wrist? Injuries are just part of the game, I don't think you can really blame anyone for them. I judge a strength and conditioning coach on how the team plays in the fourth quarter and late in the year. It's their job to make sure the players are strong and don't get worn down. In the Patriots case, they're almost always in better shape than their competition late in the game and are playing their best football when the playoffs come around. They rarely get worn down during a game like a lot of other teams do. That's how you have to judge Woicik and in my opinion, he does a great job. Look at it this way; he was the strength coach for the Cowboys when they won their Super Bowl titles in the early 90s and now with the Patriots during their current run. The guy must be doing something right.
-Tom Casale

What has been the story with Tebucky Jones? I haven't heard his name during any of the games I've watched. Has he been in the lineup, or what's the story?
Craig First

He was placed on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring this preseason. He is out for the year and will attempt to come back and make the team next season.
-Tom Casale

Concerning the possibility of Bledsoe retiring at the end of the year, maybe he will and maybe he won't. I, for one, do truly believe that without Bledsoe, the Pats won't be the dominating franchise they are now. I remember watching the draft in '93 and being ecstatic when Drew was drafted, cheered wildly for him through the years, and was extremely sad to seem him head off to Buffalo. Not taking anything away from Brady, who is in a different class, but I cheered the loudest for Bledsoe in the '01 playoff game with the Steelers where Bledsoe came in, seemed excited to play again and immediately threw a touchdown. The question I have is this, when Bledsoe finally retires, would he have a shot at the Pats Hall of Fame? The way he presented himself and handled the change in pats QB and although, he spent some of his career elsewhere, without him, the pats might not have the legacy they have today or at the least, it would of been delayed at bit.
James Hrovat

I'm not a Bledsoe fan per say and I think he was overrated throughout his career but he is a lock for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Think of where this franchise was and the awful quarterbacks it went through before Bledsoe arrived. I think Bledsoe had a 5-year span where he was a really good quarterback and he led the team to a Super Bowl appearance in that time. I believe his stats are vastly overrated because he played on a bunch of teams with bad defenses over his career and had to throw the ball a lot. That's why I don't think he should be even considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you put Bledsoe in, than Vinny Testaverde has to be considered as well. Bledsoe was a good NFL quarterback and a great Patriots quarterback. He's an absolute no-brainer for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, he was instrumental in helping the Patriots franchise rise from one of the worst in the league. And again, I don't even like Bledsoe but you can't deny that he was one of the Patriots all-time great quarterbacks. If that's not good enough to get him into the team's Hall of Fame, I don't know what is.
-Tom Casale

Only recently did I notice that 3 of 4 games vs. NFC North and also AFC South opponents are strung together consecutively. Do you feel that will give us any advantage in terms of game planning? Are these teams similar enough for us to get into a "mode' of football that works best against these teams, or is it just the same as playing random teams from various divisions?John Constantine

I think it's actually a disadvantage, John. When Bill Belichick is familiar with a team and its system, there is no better coach in the NFL at exploiting that team's weaknesses. We saw this with Buffalo in the first game of the year. The Bills had a new coaching staff and new systems in place on both sides of the ball and the Patriots struggled. However, in their second meeting after Belichick had six games of tape to look at, it was a blowout. In my opinion, the Patriots have a greater edge against teams in their division and ones they play often like the Colts and Steelers than they do against teams that are unfamiliar to them. I imagine that's the case with every team but it's really important here because like I said, once Belichick knows a teams tendency's he almost always has the upper hand, with the Broncos being the one exception.
-Tom Casale

What is your favorite team besides the Patriots?
George Powers

Whichever team is playing the Colts and the Cowboys when Drew Bledsoe isn't their quarterback.
-Tom Casale

Hello. I have a question perhaps you can answer or point me in the right direction. At the end of last week's game against Buffalo, the Patriots had 3 turnovers. On Wednesday of this week, Elias sports bureau stated that an additional turnover was credited to the Patriots at the end of the first half. I can't find any other reference to this turnover and can find no other validation. Officially, did the Patriots cause 3 or 4 turnovers in the game against the Bills last Sunday?Terry O'Brien

They caused four turnovers. There was a change in the official statistics after the game. If you remember at the end of the half, J.P. Losman completed a pass to Lee Evans and the ball came out as he was being tackled. Ellis Hobbs jumped on it but the referees just ended the half. It was a fumble recovery even though the referees never signaled it because the half was over. That's why after the game the official statistics were changed to give Hobbs credit for a fumble recovery and the Patriots four turnovers. This happens from time-to-time. Every now and then in fantasy football, a score will change after Sunday because a statistic was modified and that's what happened in this case.
-Tom Casale

I am a huge gigantic fan of the New England Patriots at the age of 12. I started getting into the NFL in 2004, the season when the Pats won the Super Bowl and became a dynasty. Anyway, I was wandering, I thought that the Pats would have an archive full of all of their games in their entirety on VHS or DVD that was done by ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN that I could have to relive that outstanding season. Please, please let me know.
Matthew Martin

While you can't get the individual games from the network, you can get the "Three Games to Glory" 1,2 and 3 DVD's that chronicle the team's postseason run to Super Bowl glory. All three are also available in a box set at the Patriots Pro Shop on You can either get the 2004 season individually or get all three seasons together. That's about the closest thing we can do to help you relive the great Patriots moments over the last few years.
-Tom Casale

Was that PFW's Oliver Hoyte playing fullback for the Cowboys Sunday night against the Panthers? I didn't even know he was on a team. Wasn't he a linebacker? Did he change positions?Alan Robartie

That was Oliver Hoyte you saw. After not being drafted, he made the Cowboys as a backup inside linebacker and special teams player. However, when starting fullback Lousaka Polite was injured, the Cowboys moved Hoyte over to the offensive side of the ball. This isn't a big surprise to me because like I said before the draft, Hoyte loves to hit people. I don't imagine he cares if it's on offense or defense, as long as he's blowing someone up. I am surprised by how good he is at fullback. He's really opening up some nice holes for Julius Jones and Marion Barber. In Hoyte, the Cowboys got someone who's versatile enough to play offense, defense and special teams. Ironically, he's seeing much more playing time than first-round pick Bobby Carpenter. Sounds like a player that would have fit in well with the Patriots, huh? I don't know why he wasn't drafted but he played well in the preseason and is getting on the field a lot in the regular season, so Andy Hart and I are happy for him. We received a lot of e-mails killing us for Hoyte but he's contributing to an NFL team, and that's more than a lot of players who were actually drafted can say.
-Tom Casale

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