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Ask PFW: Rolling into the bye

New England cruised into the bye week with a big win and though the team is off this week, fans are as fired up and filled with questions as ever to fill out another week of Ask PFW fun!

Question regarding Deon Lewis. Is he in the doghouse? I noticed that on a play it looks like he was supposed to come out but look to signal that he is not coming out. This was on the goal line. After that play I don't remember him returning to the field. Making me a little nervous especially for fantasy football.
Robert Landis

I don't recall the exact play you are referencing. I took Lewis' second-half break against the Jags as a chance to rest/protect him while also giving James White a few opportunities. In fact, running backs coach Ivan Fears was very praiseful of Lewis in the assistant coach's rare chat with the media on Monday. He noted Lewis is on a short leash due to his two early-season fumbles, but otherwise was effusive in his praise of the newcomer passing back who's been ultra-productive through three weeks of play.
Andy Hart

Pats need to create a roster spot for Jonathan Bostic and I wonder if anyone is going to be released or put on IR? Then Pats have Jones, LaFell and Stork to come of IR/PUP past mid-season, so does it mean that Pats would need to let get go of three players if nobody's injured by then? And what about trading some "excess" players for draft picks?
Jeremy L.

Yes, the team will have to make a move to add Bostic to the roster after a reported trade with the Bears. The same would have to occur later in the year as Stork, LaFell and Jones become ready. You answered your own question in regards to that later moves. The problem often solves itself due to injury or other issues as the season plays out. New England has been very active in the trade market dating back to the summer, so I wouldn't rule out another move to send a surplus player elsewhere for a draft pick. But I don't necessarily see any obvious move on the horizon. The manipulation of the bottom of the 53-man roster is always an ongoing process, and one I think the Patriots have managed well over the years. They will be doing that again throughout this fall.
Andy Hart

Andrews looks great at center. Stork was great at center. Can either play another position on the OL? What'll they do when Stork's ready for game action, assuming everyone else is healthy?
James Siegel

This question somewhat ties in to the previous answer. These issues often play themselves out. The health and depth of the interior line right now may be very different than it is if/when Stork is ready to join the roster. That said, neither Stork nor Andrews has much experience as a guard. Andrews did it for a little bit during the preseason. But I'm not sure either has the skill set to play the spot, and play it better than the other options at the position. If and when Stork, Wendell and Andrews are all healthy, at least one of them seems likely to be a backup. But this is certainly a nice "problem" to have on the interior line that less than a year ago was seen as the potential fatal flaw of the eventual Super Bowl champs.
Andy Hart

As fans we are often quick to criticize, but usually slower to praise. A year ago, offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was on the hot seat because of the play of the offensive line, particularly when comparing him to the coach he succeeded in Dante Scarnecchia. A year later, despite three rookie starters, the offensive line is one of the best in the league. What grade would you give DeGuglielmo since week 4 last year and how much of the credit does Brady get for the offensive line performance?
Gary Goldstein

I give the man they call Googe very high marks for the work he's done in his year-plus in New England, including the beginning of last season when he was forced to work through a tough situation in the wake of the Logan Mankins trade. He's taken various talents and culled them together to be a productive, good-enough offensive line. That's very Scarnecchia-esque. He's gotten both veteran and young players to buy into what he's selling and get the job done. He himself talked this week about the role that Brady plays in allowing the offensive line to succeed, so I'll defer to him on that. No. 12 makes everyone better and his awareness of the offense and the game plan certainly are as good as anyone in the game.
Andy Hart

Where can you get TB12 gear?
Monty B.

My understanding is that TB12 hats and merchandise can be bought in-person at the TB12 Training Center at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass., just outside Gillette Stadium.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, so far so good but I have a couple of questions. First, have we seen the last of Aaron Dobson? I never understood the pick and he was typical of a BB second-round disaster. Let's face it, he was a no-name from Marshall when we took a pass on Terrance Williams and Keenan Allen. What did they possibly see in him that made them blow a second round pick?? After seeing his terrible hands against the Jags I think he needs to be dangled at the trade deadline. My second question concerns Chandler Jones. Is there still belief that he is a first-string player?? He is a one-move pass rusher who has trouble setting the edge. He gets his sacks when we are up 35 points and are teeing off on the opposing QB. I guess my question is do you see BB moving either of these guys at the trade deadline to add depth of get cap relief?? Thanks as always
Andrew Thomas

Dobson was not a no-name draft pick. He was a legit prospect who just hasn't panned out as well as some others, or as well as everyone involved would have hoped. He's probably in a precarious position with the Patriots now. Brandon LaFell's absence gives him a few extra reps short term, but he has been inconsistent taking advantage of those. He was better in Week 2 in Buffalo than last week, with a couple drops against the Jags. The lack of depth at the position is probably helping him and a reason that he might not be a trade option. Also not sure what value the team would get for him at this point given his lackluster reputation and production. Jones, on the other hand, is a more respected and productive player. I admit he struggles at times against the run, many times when he's asked to play head up on the tackle and gets overpowered. I think he's much better out on the edge, against the run and the pass. And he, like all rushers, takes advantage and tees off in certain situations. But like all Patriots, he fulfills the job that's tasked to him. I wouldn't expect him to be traded, as the team finally has what has been some elusive depth at defensive end and would clearly be a lesser unit without Jones, regardless of what you think of his production.
Andy Hart

Outside of a late fourth quarter scare in Buffalo, I've been very pleased with the Patriots efforts in the first three games. With that being said, my main area of concern is still the secondary. I feel Malcolm Butler is a decent number 2 corner, but feel like we're still missing that number 1 guy that can take opposing receivers out of the game. Back in the 2012 campaign the Pats acquired Talib right before the trade deadline. What are the chances of the BB and Co. making a move to acquire a number 1 corner before the deadline this year? Thanks
Jay K

As much as I am excited by this team, especially our offense, I am convinced, that a lack of a true #1 corner will cost us a SB this year. Butler is a solid #2. We need someone like Talib and we don't have one. If we get by Broncos in the playoffs who because of the easier schedule and a home game with us may get higher seeding, we will not pass by Aaron Rogers and the Packers, and only because we are missing one quality CB. We don't need Revis, someone like Talib would do the job. I can't understand BB, why pay $5M per year to several back-ups, when you could spend some of that cash on a premium CB to win it all?

The Patriots secondary still feels like it could be the defining story of the 2015 season. Either it eventually proves itself good enough to complement an elite offense or it ends up being a fatal flaw. I don't see that debate being solved any time before the final game of the season, whenever that is. That said, I just don't see a trade on the horizon that will bring a Talib-like transformational player to the mix. Of course I never saw the Talib trade coming, either. So stay tuned. More likely, Butler needs to prove himself a No. 1 option and the rest of the depth corners need to be better than they have the first three weeks. The scheme and zone coverages need to be better, too. Would this team be better now with Revis? Yes. But it's not just about a single year or one-year contract. It's about the short and long term and the decision he wasn't worth some $40 million over the long haul, if he had any interest in returning. And as a side note, I think the Broncos schedule is actually harder than the Patriots. But I guess that's subjective.
Andy Hart

Dear Ask PFW,It seems that the Patriots are one of the few teams to put a large emphasis on special teams. Living in DC, I've seen the Redskins allow 9 return TDs in the last 30 games. That got me thinking - when was the last punt and kickoff returned for a score against the Pats? The only one I can remember in recent history is Deltha O'Neal (Broncos) in 2003. Thanks.
Mark Damiano
Washington, DC

The last opponent to return a kickoff for a touchdown against New England was C.J. Spiller for the Bills on Sept. 26, 2010, a 95-yard score in a Patriots 38-30 win The last opponent to return a punt for a touchdown was Adam "Pacman" Jones' 81-yard score for the Titans on Dec. 31, 2006 in a Patriots 40-23 win.
Andy Hart

Hi guys, good work. If another team wanted to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo via a trade, would you consider it? If yes, what would you ask in return. Thanks.
J. Baines

At 38 years old, Brady appears to be playing as well as he ever has. If he's right and can play at this level for five more years, what do you think the team does when Jimmy G's contract is up? He is clearly the most promising back up/heir apparent to come through here. I think he's the guy.I'll bet coach thinks so too.
Howard Wolfe

I would certainly listen to a trade offer for Garoppolo. Never hurts to listen. That said, I wouldn't take anything less than a first-round pick at this point. I'd want to upgrade my original investment in the potential-filled backup, which was a second-round pick. I don't think a team would do that right now, but maybe I'm wrong. As for when Garoppolo's contract is up in two-plus years, a lot can happen between now and then. I'd be willing to let it play out. You can always trade him prior to the 2017 season. Or during. Or, even though it's costly, franchise and try to trade him after his contract ends. Or maybe he'll be starting by then. A lot could happen and a lot of options will be available, regardless of how it plays out.
Andy Hart

Guys, great work as always...thanks for the outlet. The goal is to get the Pats to SB 50, so we must start the movement right here right now to get Randy Moss on this team for the rest of the year. Even if he were only available from the 50-yd line in or just the red zone. He has 5 months in him. He's older, wiser and he'll do it for Tommy. Can you imagine him and Gronk on the field together in the red zone! This the best way I can think to make up for the loss of Revis, get Tom to SF and stick it to the league all in one move. Can you imagine the national outcry if we signed Moss!!! Bring it on. Love it. Calling on you Pats fans to shout it from the roof tops!! WE WANT MOSS!
Bob Sher

Andy Hart

Ed Sandoval

Well said.
Andy Hart

Hey guys, I was just wondering, what does BB see in LaGarrette Blount? I see a very inconsistent runner who can put up 150 yards against the Colts, but cannot run the ball well when really needed. Last year, in a close playoff game against Baltimore, he averaged less than a yard per carry, and against Seattle, about 2.8 yards per carry. He continuously gets the start, even though he almost always fails to perform well. In close games, the game always ends up on TB12's shoulders. I like Dion Lewis now, but to be honest I thought Jonas Gray was better worth a roster spot than LaGarrette Blount.
Mahrouz Ahmad

I think Belichick sees a guy that when called upon more often that fills the role he's asked to. Blount has taken advantage of matchups and done a good job. He's not going to be the top option on the offense as long as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are in town. He doesn't have to be. He shouldn't be. He's just the big part of a big committee. I also think he's done far more impressive things in a Patriots uniform than Gray ever did. Belichick likes Blount. He fits in New England in his role in a pass-first offense. I think that is all there is to it.
Andy Hart

Love PFW, keep it up. Questions about linebackers, since the Pats seem to have an extraordinary group. 1)Any chance of picking up Spikes since he is still without a job and still dangerous in middle? and 2)Can you explain what is going on with Mayo, his limited playing time, etc? Thanks, appreciate it.

I don't think you'll ever see Spikes in Foxborough again. He also has a four-game suspension to deal with at any point if/when he does land on a roster. Mayo just isn't the player he once was and given that the Patriots defense generally only has two linebackers on the field, he's not one of the two best options. He's behind Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower now, and even Jonathan Freeny played ahead of him last week. Mayo seems to be pigeonholed as a run-stuffer now for certain situational play. He runs on the field with the likes of Alan Branch and in goal line situation. This comes after Mayo took a contract adjustment this offseason and looks down the barrel of another major contract issue next offseason. The captain is still a respected leader on the team, he's just not the player he once way as an every-down option in the core of the defense.
Andy Hart


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