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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Jun 18 - 11:55 AM | Thu Jun 20 - 09:55 AM

Ask PFW: Plenty to choose from

This week's mailbag covers a wide-range of topics including the ever-present Mike Cloud situation.

I know you have already answered several questions regarding Ken Walter but I still don't get it. The guy is absolutely horrendous. I'm surprised the entire Patriots defense has not tied him to a tree somewhere in Western Mass. for the horrible field position he routinely leaves them in. Every time he gets set to punt my heart skips a beat. There has to be a better punter out there somewhere. I have seen better high school punters. Why in the world has he not been replaced?
Mobile, Ala.

Dealing with some pent up hostility there, eh George? I agree Walter has been pretty inconsistent, but tying him to a tree in Western Mass.? At least do it in Boston somewhere so he can be where the action is. The serious answer to your question is there simply must not be a better alternative out there. Bill Belichick had no fewer than four guys in for tryouts and even brought at least one back for a second look. If any kicked better than Walter, I have to think he'd be a Patriot right now.
Paul Perillo

Mike Cloud had two good games earlier this season, then nothing, not even on the roster for several games. What's the problem?
Ken Brennan
Lancaster, Mass.

Congratulations Ken, you're this week's winner of the First Mike Cloud Question Contest. Believe me, we get about 50 every week. Mike made a nice debut against Tennessee playing when Kevin Faulk was injured. In the next two games he played with Antowain Smith injured, and he did nothing. He had one good game, not two. Then he returned against Houston when injuries elsewhere (mostly to receivers) allowed him to dress as the third running back. He looked better than Smith to me but obviously the coaches feel Smith's size gives them a better option in short yardage. But unless something happens to Faulk, I wouldn't expect Cloud to be more than a bit player.
Paul Perillo

I read your column every week and just wonder how many people that write in actually read it? How many times do you have to answer the Mike Cloud question? It seems like half the questions are about Cloud and why he isn't playing. Enough already, he is the third back. Just had to vent, thanks for listening. Keep up the good work.
Ben B.
Douglassville, Pa.

Anytime you want to do our venting for us Ben, you just go right ahead.
Paul Perillo

The NFL schedule for the playoffs during the first two weeks of January indicates the 3rd and 4th for wild card and 10th and 11th for divisional. Do you know what days the AFC is playing and what days the NFC is playing? We are season ticket holders trying to plan a 90th birthday celebration for our grandmother and don't want to conflict with a playoff game (sick or what?).
Kathleen Wild
Niantic, Conn.

Very sick. Your poor grandmother, what was her mother thinking delivering a child during the playoffs 90 years ago? Poor planning I'd say. Anyway, the league doesn't pre-schedule which games will take place of which day. There will be an AFC and NFC game on each day, but there's no way of knowing which day the Patriots will play. There are a lot of factors that go into that. Location is one (warm weather, cold weather, indoors, etc), East Coast, West Coast, etc. It's still way too early to tell, plus, Belichick says, "we haven't won anything yet."
Paul Perillo

After seeing numerous misses by Vinatieri this season, do you think he should stop shaving?
Nick Velez
Coral Springs, Fla.

Maybe you should stop shaving too, Nick. After all, that would have the same effect on Adam's kicks.
Paul Perillo

What the heck is Mr. Belichick wearing on the sidelines lately?
Richard Forcino
Cranston, R.I.

Usually Bill wears a gray hooded Patriots sweatshirt, but really is the coach's wardrobe of any importance?
Paul Perillo

When Team A punts and a member of Team B touches the ball but does not get possession and a member of Team A does cover it, the ball belongs to Team A. Is that a correct statement? If so, then why wasn't the ball awarded to the Patriots when the Texans blocked a punt in the game and it was covered by a Patriot?
Hampton, N.H.

You're half right, Jerry. If a ball is punted downfield and touches a member of the receiving team, then it becomes a live ball and would treated like a fumble. But on a blocked kick, if the ball winds up at or behind the original line of scrimmage (as it did against the Texans) is not a live ball regardless of who touches it. Either team can pick it up and run with it, but if the blocking team touches it without establishing possession, it is not considered a live ball.
Paul Perillo

When a player is traded does the team which traded for the player assume the salary cap responsibility for that player's signing bonus, or does the original team take the entire cap hit at the moment they trade the player?
Maynard, Mass.

The signing bonus is the responsibility of the original team. Any remaining salary would be assumed by the team acquiring the player. That's one of the things that make trading in the NFL difficult.
Paul Perillo

In Monday night's game (Giants vs. Bucs) a Buc pulled in an interception and the announcer said that the Buc had read the eyes of the Giants QB. My question is if linemen can wear tinted face shields why can't QBs? Is there some sort of obscure rule?
Goose Creek, S.C.

First things first, I can't believe John Madden actually said something on a broadcast that somebody didn't already know. The master of the obvious doesn't do that too often. Now for the question, Adam. While there is no rule prohibiting quarterbacks from wearing shields provided they have an acceptable medical reason (Jim McMahon wore one during his San Diego days), they would do little to prevent the above scenario from unfolding. "Reading a quarterback's eyes" is a common phrase but isn't meant to be taken literally. Superman wouldn't be able to actually see a quarterback's eyes from 30 or 40 yards away. Defensive backs simply watch the quarterback and try to read which direction he's going to throw by determining the direction he's looking. Whether a player was wearing a shield or not would do nothing to stop that.
Paul Perillo

Next year, do you think there is a possibility that the Pats could get Terrell Owens, Keyshawn Johnson, or Corey Dillon? I would love to see 1 of those 3 players in New England.
Steven Velez
Coral Springs, Fla.

Heck Steve, why stop there. Why don't we get Marvin Harrison, Clinton Portis or LaDainian Tomlinson too? Of your above group, Keyshawn probably has the best chance of becoming a Patriot, but it won't be easy. His situation in Tampa will force the Bucs to make a tough decision regarding his salary and unless he's outright released, his contract would make him difficult to trade for. But stranger things have happened.
Paul Perillo

I am a PFW subscriber and noticed that Paul P.'s favorite website is Is Perillo a Northeastern Grad? It appeared that A. Smith got more carries the last few weeks (with limited production) because he doesn't fumble and Weis would rather take his shots downfield than risk fumbles from Faulk.What do you guys think?

Glenn D.
Mahwah, N.J.

I am not a Northeastern grad but I do attend most of their football, basketball and hockey games being a 20-plus year season ticket holder for the Huskies. My father, brother and sister all went there. I'd tell you my story but there's not enough space … or interest from any of the other readers!!! As for the running situation, Weis will use both Smith and Faulk depending on the opponent and which fits the game plan better each week. It has nothing to do with Faulk fumbling (he has just two all year). Against Houston last week, Faulk was the featured back after Smith started against the Cowboys.
Paul Perillo

Phil Dawson was a member of the Patriots practice squad in 1998. What number did he wear? Also, what number was Justin Kurpeikis while he was on the practice squad this year?
Richard Wood
San Antonio, Texas

Dawson wore No. 8 while with the Patriots while Kurpeikas was No. 47.
Paul Perillo

I just caught the schedule that is listed on It shows the teams projected out until the year 2009. I thought that the schedule a team gets depends on their record from the previous year. Would you explain this seemingly new scheduling format to me?

Gunnard Johnston
Needham, Mass.

With realignment two years ago the NFL did indeed change the scheduling format. Now there are just two games for each team that are determined by the previous year's finish. We'll use the AFC East and the Patriots as an example for how it works: AFC East teams play each other twice each (that's six games), plus an entire division in the AFC (four games) and the NFC (four games). Those divisions rotate each year so one year we'll play the AFC North (2002), then the AFC South (this year), then the AFC West (next year) … same in the NFC. That's a total of 14 games. The remaining two are the ones determined by the previous year's finish. If the Patriots finish first in the AFC East, the other two opponents would be the first place finishers in the two AFC divisions the East is not playing against. If they play the West, then the first place teams in the North and South would round out the schedule. Same for second, third and fourth place teams.
Paul Perillo

Now that Patrick Pass is the only FB on the depth chart, will we finally get a chance to see whether he can run from that position? If he's fast enough to handle kick-offs, shouldn't he get a chance to run the ball?
Swampscott, Mass.

Dude, like, Pass is like, you know, like a fullback with some running back skills. His versatility is his strongest asset. He doesn't really possess the ideal skills to do either job but, Dude, he can play, and as the only fullback on the roster he should get some more chances to show what he can do.
Paul Perillo

Is it possible to calculate Tom Brady's QB rating while executing a hurry up offense? (Late in the game and behind in points) and again when not doing so? I'm curious how they would compare.
Gary Strasdin
Woodridge, Ill.

Hey Gary, did you ever see the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks? When he first starts working for the toy company and he asks his secretary to do about 1,000 things like getting a tape of the Giants Super Bowl with all the commercials taken out? That's what this question reminds me of. While I think it would be great to compare the numbers, the task of compiling them would take up far too much time for us to be able to do anything else. And not to be negative, but any reasonably successful starting quarterback would have better numbers running the hurry-up late in games than his normal numbers. Brady's been great in those situations but statistically they lend themselves to better numbers.
Paul Perillo

Whose draft picks do the Pats have in 2004?
Chip Bierbaum
New York, N.Y.

The Patriots have a few extra picks to work with next year. The best is Baltimore's first rounder, which was acquired last April when the Patriots traded their second No. 1 pick to the Ravens for their first rounder in 2004. Also, New England has Miami's second-round pick plus New Orleans' pick in the fourth round. The remaining seven picks are the Patriots own.
Paul Perillo

I have a question about home-field advantage in the playoffs. (please disregard the true schedules of either team, this is just an example.) Say the Patriots and Chiefs are tied at the end of the season, both having the best records in the AFC. They didn't go head-to head, and let's pretend they have the same record against their conference. The next procedure to figure out who wins home-field advantage would be common games (remember, disregard this season's true schedules, such as the Chiefs win over the Bills). The Pats defeated the Broncos at Denver, and pretend the Chiefs lost at Denver but beat them at home. Would:a) the Pats win it by 1/2 a game, since they are 1-0 but the Chiefs are 1-1 to Denver,b) the Pats win it, since they only count the game AT Denverc) they go to the next procedure, Since the Chiefs have defeated Denver.

Lowell, Mass.

I'll tell you where I'm going … to the medicine chest for some aspirin. That gave me a headache just reading it. But I think I understand what you're asking. If common opponents enters the equation, then all common opponent games count. So both Chiefs-Broncos games would count for KC while just one game against Denver would count for the Pats. If one team wound up 5-2 and the other was 5-1, the 5-1 team would win even though they didn't play the same number of opponents. The better winning percentage would get the edge. So I guess the answer is A, especially since they used to tell you on the SATs that it's almost always never C.
Paul Perillo

Is there a conspiracy against us around the NFL, because to watch these zebra pigs call penalty after penalty against us each week is disgusting! They call penalties where none of our guys were even around the ball! When are enough complaint forms going to be submitted to the league to force an investigation into this travesty?
Jon Dowling
Bergenfield, N.J.

Easy with the conspiracy theories, Oliver Stone. Do you still feel that way after that garbage defensive holding call against Houston that nullified a Texans interception in overtime? The Patriots have had a lot of penalties and some have been highly questionable (Eugene Wilson and Joe Andruzzi personal fouls against Dallas top my list). But to suggest there's some impropriety going on is ridiculous. Did you think it was funny in 2001 when there was a national "perception" that the refs aided the Patriots ride to the Super Bowl because of the whole 9/11-Patriotic angle? You're assertions are no less insulting.
Paul Perillo

Even if Charlie Weis does not become the head coach of another team, is it possible the Patriots would consider replacing him? His play calling is inconsistent at best and downright questionable at times. Last weeks game against Dallas has some perfect examples. During the first example Charlie tried to run Kevin Faulk up the middle on first-and-20. During the second first-and-20, Charlie tried to get the 20 yards all at once. When the Cowboys defended the play Charlie pulled the plug, tried a couple of running plays then punted. I honestly believe that Charlie is what is wrong with the Pats offense, what do you think?
Jay Luster
Ivor, Va.

I think you're being a little hard on Charlie. I think inconsistent is probably a fair word to describe his play-calling this year, but he's had many real good ones that don't seem to get much attention. What did you think of the bomb to Troy Brown in OT at Miami? How about going for the win at the end of the Denver game and getting a touchdown rather than settling for a tying field goal, like 99 percent of the other offensive coordinators would have done? Yes I've questioned many calls as well. The draw against Washington down the stretch, back-to-back running plays at the end of regulation in Miami and many times an insistence on abandoning the running game. But the Patriots offense isn't as talented as many think. They're good, not great. I think Charlie does a nice job of maximizing what he has and is a good fit here.
Paul Perillo

The Pats drafted Kliff Kingsbury in 2003.Is he still on the Pats roster? But the real question is, is there really such a penalty called "launching" as Eugene Wilson was accused of doing near the end of Sunday night's game against the Cowboys? In my personal opinion I thought Eugene jumped up and hit the receiver as the ball got to him and broke the play up as we saw him do to Denver's Rod Smith earlier this year, I thought it was a clean hit and just a good play, he wasn't trying to rip the receiver's head off, it looked like he was going for the ball. This is not flag football, it is a contact sport, no one got injured, so come on refs let the guys play for crying out loud.
Rory Dupuis
Warwick, R.I.

Hey Rory, are you sure you're name isn't Rodney Harrison?? He's always claiming the NFL wants flag football. Anyway, there is nothing illegal about launching, the official did not properly explain his call that night against Dallas. I still believe it was a bad call, but NFL Director of Officials Mike Periera explained that Wilson led with his head and even though he turned, the helmet was the first thing to make contact with the receiver. That's what the penalty was for and that's why he was fined $7,500. It was highly questionable at best.
Paul Perillo

I have always like coach Belichick for what he brings to this football team and his way of approaching the games but my question is how long do the Patriots have got him under contract? I thought it was 2 years correct me if I am wrong but I know he is worth keeping why doesn't the organization give him a longer contract?
Providence, R.I.

Not to worry, Jorge. Belichick signed originally signed a five-year contract that would have expired after the 2004 season, but the Patriots gave him a two-year extension (actually signed before the 2002 season but not announced until just before training camp in July), which runs through the 2006.
Paul Perillo

Maybe we were wrong about Pete Carroll? He didn't seem like a very good football coach when he was with the Patriots, what do you think explains why he is having success now?
David Berg
New York, N.Y.

I think Pete is perfect for the college game. No one ever questioned his football knowledge when he was the Patriots coach. But there were questions about his ability to lead and motivate while maintaining enough discipline to inspire a team. In college at USC, those problems are easier to deal with because the coach is the boss and the players have yet to make the millions that often lead to attitude problems. I can tell you as someone who covered Pete every day for a year and got to know him a little that if I had a high school hot shot for a son and he came into my living room to recruit him, I'd do whatever I could to get my kid to sign.
Paul Perillo

Please clarify a statistic for me. Do Carter's three interceptions count as completions?
Ben Nesse
North Dartmouth, Mass.

Interceptions do not count as completions.
Paul Perillo

If Romeo Cornell gets a head coaching job next season with another team do you think it will effect the defense of the Patriots?
New Bedford, Mass.

There's no question Romeo's leaving would effect the Patriots defense. It's just a matter of how much. Crennel does a great job of giving the players the game plan each week and is terrific at making adjustments during the game. Obviously Belichick is an excellent defensive coach but losing a guy like Romeo would be a big blow and force some other coaches to expand their roles, most likely someone like Eric Mangini.
Paul Perillo

I just wanted to know if you guys thought that the return of Ted Washington could be a negative. I realize that he's a proven player, but Seymour and Warren have done a nice job in the middle. Warren has a chance to do what Seymour did in 2001, but he may not get enough playing time to prove it.
Luke Matton
Amherst, Mass.

I hope you're not partying too much out there in Amherst, Luke, because I really don't see any other way to explain how Washington's return could be negative. He's a huge run stuffer and that showed against Houston during that big goal line stand in the first quarter. The more quality players a team has the better the team will be. If Ty Warren was playing that well and deserves to be out there, he'll still get his reps.
Paul Perillo

I like the idea of teams wearing third jerseys or alternate uniforms. They seem to have been doing it more and more over the past 2 years. Do you think this trend is going to continue to include teams that have rarely changed their unis (like Dallas or Green Bay) and why didn't the Pats wear a new red jersey?
Matt Rositano
Quincy, Mass.

Many teams have implemented a third jersey over the past few seasons. The Dolphins wore orange shirts for the first time in their history last Sunday night against Washington. Dallas was kind of an innovator with the third jersey when they broke out "special occasion" jerseys about 10 years ago on Thanksgiving. That wasn't a throwback shirt, just a third uniform. As for other team's plans like Green Bay, I have no idea. The Patriots did not wear red because that is their throwback jersey, which they wore on Thanksgiving last year in Detroit. The idea of an alternate jersey is to add a source of revenue so the Patriots wanted another jersey in addition to the red ones.
Paul Perillo

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