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

Ask PFW: Perfect start

What a great start to the season even with spy gate! I know that after 3 games it's hard to project what's going to happen with or without injuries after game 6 but what are your thoughts as to the PUP list personnel. We know that Richard Seymour is just going to make the defense much better and with Rodney Harrison's suspension ending after week 4 there would have already been a roster change. Then we have Troy Brown, who every Patriot fan loves but Wes Welker is just a younger version of Troy and is playing great. Not to mention Chad Jackson, who has done little in the time he has been a Patriot but has potential. With the receiving corps now working very well somebody, like it or not, has to go. What are you're thoughts?Darrell Veilleux

In a way, it's funny to think that the Patriots roster is so stacked right now that there wouldn't be room for more talented players. But it's also a little premature to think, as you point out, that there won't be different circumstances in the coming weeks. Seymour will be added to the roster at whatever point he's physically able after the six-week mark. There will never be any question of that, although based on the fact that he was even placed on PUP that tells me the injury is enough that even a return by Week 6 wasn't possible. I think if there had been a chance to get the All-Pro back, even for a single game sooner than the PUP rules allow, the team would have taken that chance. So that could mean a couple weeks past the six-week mandated window. But he has poked his head in the locker room a couple times, has been working out hard and is walking around with no noticeable limitations of any kind.
In my mind the Brown scenario is similar. If he's ready after six weeks I think he gets activated. I still think he can help out in a variety of roles on this team. With the team only carrying five receivers right now, it could be he'd be the sixth and the roster spot would come from another spot. If a receiver has to go it would either be Kelley Washington or Jabar Gaffney. Washington has been a special teams contributor but also has a hamstring injury. Gaffney has been more a part of the offense in multi-receiver sets. If Washington is healthy and a receiver has to go, I say it's Gaffney. But again, injuries at the position could change the situation between now and then.
I think Chad Jackson ends up on IR for the season. I just don't see room for him on the roster right now. Unless the receiver spot is hit hard by injury, I don't think Jackson fits in this season. As for Harrison, like Seymour, I think he hits the field as soon as he's ready. Knowing him, that's probably in Week 5 against the Browns. Even if he doesn't get the start, my guess is he'll play.
Andy Hart

Randy Moss seems to be "unavailable" to the press after the games, is this his way of doing things or has coach BB requested him not to talk to the media? It seems to me this would be an "I Told You So" moment for him. Would love to hear his real comments on playing with the Pats and Tom Brady. Keep up the good work, Ask PFW has become a must read every Tuesday, Thank You.
Bob T

Moss told us, the media, in the early going that he wouldn't be available to talk very often this year. So far, he's lived up to his word. Of course he's also lived up to his word in terms of telling us that we'd be seeing things we're never seen before. He's been that good. But I'm not sure it would really be an "I told you so" moment. Did anyone actually think he didn't have talent? No. Most people expected him to have a huge impact on the offense and that's exactly what he's done. The only doubts about Moss dealt with his questionable history of off the field and in terms of game day motivation. But most also believed that wouldn't be a problem in New England and that this team might be the perfect fit for him at this point in his career. That's proven to be true so far.
Andy Hart

I agree with Asante Samuel and Jarvis Green - Pats have a lot to improve. I am still not convinced that we will be having Colts at home in AFC title game. I feel all this talk of Pats going 16-0 and being the team to beat is setting us up for even tougher competition in the hard schedule. I wish they were all gunning for Colts not us.Larry G.

First, I am of the mind that these Patriots have a chance at 16-0. Laugh all you want. I think this is the most talented Patriots team I've covered. If I remember correctly teams of recent memory, ones I believe were less physically talented, marched through a 21-game winning streak. Bill Belichick still running the show. Tom Brady is still here. The '72 Dolphins should be shaking in their aging boots. 16-0 shouldn't be a problem. Just kidding. Sort of.
As far as teams gunning for the Patriots instead of the Colts, get used to it. New England is the best team in football. If they can't handle teams gunning for them then they aren't as good as I give them credit for. I don't think it will be a problem. Nobody is gunning for the Bills, do you wish you were rooting for them? Enjoy the fact that your team is once again atop the football world. Stop worrying and enjoy the ride.
Andy Hart

According to the Providence Journal, New England WR Randy Moss set a record last Sunday as he became the first player in NFL history, rookie or veteran, to record 100-yard receiving games in each of his first three games with a new team. First off, is this true? And second, what do you think his chances are of going first 5 games with over 100 yards in each games, taking in to account the D we will be playing against.James Mathews

It is true and it is a record. Moss, as promised, is doing things we've never seen before. Considering the shaky defenses that the Bengals and Browns bring to the field (if you need evidence check out the teams' 51-45 Week 2 meeting) Moss does have a chance to keep the streak rolling. I wouldn't bet against him. Putting a quarterback like Brady with a receiver like Moss almost seems unfair. But from my perspective, it sure is fun to watch.
Andy Hart

In the case of the lateral from Welker to Moss, how is that registered as stats? For Brady the total yards gained on the pass play 26yards plus 11, for 37, right? But is the yardage for Moss counted as reception yards, even though he is not the one who caught the pass? 38 points every week is quite satisfying!
Craig First

The play from Sunday's win that you are talking about, one that everyone involved now seems to agree was ill-advised, is recorded basically how you said it. Brady is give credit for the 37 yards passing. Welker gets a reception and 26 yards receiving. Moss gets 11 yards added to his receiving yardage for the game.
Andy Hart

I am not sure about Chris Hanson's punting. In the first game, he got off some nice and long ones, but [Sunday]'s game he seemed to struggle. Was it just the wind, or is he really not kicking it long? Thanks.Vijay Pierce

Not to be argumentative here, although fans of Ask PFW know that I have been known as "Angry Andy" on occasion, but Hanson couldn't have had "some nice and long ones" in the first game. He only punted once against the Jets on opening day. No plural there, just a single punt. That one did travel 53 yards, so maybe that's what you are remembering and multiplying in your head. Anyway, he's only punted four times all year. He's never had the biggest of legs. He's a hang time/directional punter. Belichick said he was asked to kick the ball directionally in his two chances against the Bills and did just that. They could have been longer, but in the end his dismal 29.5 net average was due in part to his kicking away from Buffalo returner Roscoe Parrish. Of course, he also looked worse in comparison to Buffalo's strong-legged punter Brian Moorman who unleashed a 75-yard bomb out of his own end zone. Has Hanson been great? No. But he hasn't had too many chances yet to kick into a groove. And even when he's at his best, which included a Pro Bowl year in Jacksonville, he's not necessarily going to be the guy unleashing the long, booming kicks. That's not really his game. It's also not necessary for what the Patriots ask him to do.
Andy Hart

How come the Colts have an easy schedule and the Patriots have a tough schedule, Colts won the championship last year, the schedules are not even close.Paul Lindstrom

For the 769 zillionth time, schedules are set long in advance save for two games based that are based on previous years' records. That's it. The Colts easy schedule, except for first place games against the Patriots and Ravens, was set in 2002. The Patriots tough schedule, except for first place games against the Colts and Chargers, was set in 2002. I'm sorry if it doesn't look fair. But get over it. And if you want, look at the set schedules moving forward for 2008 and 2009. Tell me now which teams have tough schedules and which teams have easy slates. [Pause.] You're wrong. I guarantee it.
Andy Hart

How many players were on the team that played in Super Bowl 31 and then were on the teams that won Super Bowls 36, 38 and 39? How many are left on the current patriots roster now?Michael Doser

Drew Bledsoe (did not play in Super Bowl 36), Troy Brown (inactive for Super Bowl 31), Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Ted Johnson, Terry Glenn, Lawyer Milloy, Tedy Bruschi, Otis Smith, Adam Vinatieri, Terry Glenn (suspended for Super Bowl 36) and Chris Sullivan (inactive for Super Bowl 36) were all on the Super Bowl 31 and 36 teams. Moving forward the list gets pared down to Brown, McGinest, Law, Johnson, Bruschi and Vinatieri that remained in New England for Super Bowl 38 and 39 wins. The only guys remaining with the team now are Brown (PUP) and Bruschi.
Andy Hart

Just a real quick question. How come a kicker can kick the ball 70 yards on a kickoff, but on a field goal they can barely kick it 50 ? Does it have something to do with the snap or the holder/tee? Thanks and keep up the great work!!
Girard Kullen

Real quick answer: because he gets a running start at kicking the ball off a tee.
Andy Hart

I have just shut off the game. Vince Wilfork's late hit squarely on the knee was clearly intentional. Enough is enough. First Belichick, now Wilfork. Can Bob Kraft be far behind? Being a Pats fan has always made me feel good. We're on top through character and excellence, or I think we used to be. What do I do now?
George Mortenson

Relax. I'm sorry, but I can't say definitively either way whether Wilfork's hit on J.P. Losman was intentional or not. I think only Wilfork knows that. He said it wasn't. All I can do, is take his word. But I certainly don't lump it all in with the rest of the clouds that have been hovering over the Patriots in recent weeks. That's a bit much. Football is a physical game with a fine line between playing hard and a cheap hit. Guys blur the line all the time. Wilfork may have on Sunday. But still, step back, relax and take a deep breath.
Andy Hart

I know it has only been 2 games, but the defense this year seems to have something that it has not had since the super bowl years, and that's the ability to get stops when it needs them. I know they set a record for fewest points allowed per game last season, but the defense just seems more able to get the big stop this year. I was wondering if you felt the same way?Jeremy Ribadeneyra

I think this year's defense is good. I think it will make a lot of plays. And may develop the knack for getting the key stop when it needs it. But that hasn't happened yet. The unit has given up five touchdowns in five red zone chances for opponents. If the red zone isn't the time for a key stop, then I don't know what is. I think this defense could be much better than last year's group and could challenge the unit from 2003 that I thought was the best in recent memory. It's not there yet and it has a long season ahead to prove its mettle.
Andy Hart

I was just wondering, that with emergence of James Sanders and the drafting of Brandon Meriweather could Eugene Wilson's time with the Patriots be numbered? I kind of hope not, he's a good player when healthy and his leadership might prove helpful next season if Harrison retires and we are once again the defending Super Bowl champions!!!
Kyle Brian Lahti

Wilson is scheduled to be a free agent next spring, so this very well could be his last season in New England. He's battled injuries and disappointing play over the last two seasons. His star has lost a little of the playmaking luster it had earlier in his career. So far this season I think Wilson has been solid. But he still hasn't returned to the big hits and interceptions that seemed to be more a part of his game in his first two seasons. He knows he needs a big season to show that he still has "it". He hasn't really done that yet, but there are still 13 games to play. You are right, though, it would leave the secondary in a tough spot if Harrison retired after this season and Wilson left via free agency. Meriweather, as a first-round pick, would likely be expected to start down the road but we've seen nothing as of yet to show that he's ready for that now. Or that he would be ready to start next fall, either.
Andy Hart

Why do you think Dante Stallworth is not a big part of the offense yet? Although he is on the field he does not seem to receive very many throws. I wonder if Tom hasn't built up a rhythm with him yet... or are they waiting until teams start to disrupt Randy at the line and then open Stallworth up and get him more involved? I know there are only so many balls to go around but shouldn't they get him a little more involved?Maryellen Kiley

In some ways, I think you answered your own question. There are only so many balls to go around. So far those have gone to Moss and Wes Welker. I also think that Stallworth plays a similar style as Moss in that his best skills come into play down the field. There are only so many opportunities for those plays and, again, Moss has taken most of those. That said I still think that Stallworth will make his share of big plays at some point. He's not in Moss' league, but look for a couple games where he catches eight balls for 140 yards, or something in that range. Maybe that will come when defenses really start to focus on Moss. Maybe it will just be a matchup thing against a specific defense. Sooner or later Stallworth will make some plays.
Andy Hart

I've noticed that the refs have letters on their uniforms. Like BJ as an example. What do these mean?
Abbie Cote

Each crew of game officials consists of a Referre (R), Umpire (U), Head Lineman (HL), Line Judge (LJ), Field Judge (FJ), Side Judge (SJ) and Back Judge (BJ).
Andy Hart

Ok we all know Brady is great, Moss is the man. But what about that offensive line? Its like Brady was chillin' there in the pocket. Do you think they could be the best line we've seen in New England, and possible the best in the league right now? Come on, BIG shout out to that line.Travis Farewell

This is the best I've seen the offensive line play for an extended period of time in my seven years covering the team. I think it started near the end of last season and has continued through the first three weeks. The pass protection has been good. For the most part there have been plenty of good holes for the backs to run through. The group has had some degree of continuity over the last two-plus seasons and I think that is showing up on the field. The Patriots have invested draft picks, money and a lot of developmental coaching in these guys and it looks like it's starting to play off. I'm not ready to say it's the best in the league (because I won't pretend to be an expert on all 31 other teams' offensive lines), but through three weeks as a collective unit it is certainly getting the job done. Dante Scarnecchia deserves a lot of the credit for that.
Andy Hart

I am wondering with all this talent Moss has, and has shown on the playing field these first three games, how long are we going to wait before Moss's agent and the Patriots talk contract extension? It is obvious that he has made his stamp on this team and has made it so much better. Do you think we will have to wait until the end of the season before both sides talk?Jorge DeLeon

Not sure when both sides will talk. The Patriots do a very good job of keeping those types of conversations very private. I am sure Moss' agent will start sniffing around about a potential lucrative extension. But I'm not sure the Patriots will be the team willing to give it to him. This seems to be playing out the exact same way the Corey Dillon era did in New England. Dillon was the perfect addition when he broke the franchise rushing record in 2004. The Patriots gave him an extension, even though he was an aging back with a questionable past. Dillon slowed down significantly in 2005 and even more in 2006. He lost something, whether it was a lack of motivation or simply the natural course of aging. The Patriots cut him this spring and are still paying dead money on the cap for the extension that now looks like it was a mistake. Moss is doing some very impressive things. He's clearly driven to succeed. He could put up franchise-record type numbers. But if you give him a lucrative extension it might not be long before he looks like an aging, slowing and lackadaisical receiver. And you'd be on the financial hook once again as was the case with Dillon. If I had to make the decision I'd be very cautious in any extension talks with Moss.

Andy Hart

The Bengals are good, but why do all the analysts say that NE will have a tough matchup with the Bengals? Are Defense can match up with the receivers, and our offense is way better than last year when we crushed them. So do you guys think the same?Chris C.

I don't think the Patriots have a chance to lose Monday night in Cincy, but I'm not sure the Patriots defensive backs can "match up" with the Bengals receivers. I'm nitpicking here, but I think one area that's looked a little shaky at times early this season is the Patriots pass coverage. I thought Chad Pennington found open guys on opening day when he had time in the early going of the game. I thought Trent Edwards found guys in the early going last week. I think the talent is there for the secondary to be good, maybe very good, but it will face a strong challenge against the Bengals. Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are legit Pro Bowl-level receivers. Carson Palmer is a very good quarterback. They will test this secondary. I don't think the Bengals have the defense or overall talent to beat the Patriots, but the team's passing game could make some plays against almost any defense.

Andy Hart

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