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ASK PFW: The beat goes on - Pt. II

Read part two of this week's edition of Ask PFW. The Patriots continue to run roughshod over every team in its path and some people aren't happy about it.

Hello, I run a Fathers Organization and am a Patriots fan. However I am wondering if I have wasted years of devoted fanship and much money being a Patriots fan. This is the most unsportsmanlike team I have seen in recent memory. As we talked in our web meeting during the end of the game, (as we were going for it on 4th down instead of kicking a field goal) "How can we tell our children that this is the way a TEAM handles itself?" Very embarrassed and ashamed are thousands of us fathers who are Patriot Fans that our team is not a Team we would want our children to imitate or look up to. Congratulations on the 10 - 0 start and Boo's for the way this team presents itself to Children and Fans everywhere.
Rich Capo

I have a question. When the score is 56-10 why are the starting linebackers like Junior Seau and Adalius Thomas in the game??? I understand the whole "60 minute men" thing but this is a little overboard. Whenever the Pats have an injury at LB, the backup never has any playing experience and usually performs poorly. The Pats have has several big leads at the end of games, but I rarely see Pierre Woods or another backup in the game. Why? Why risk losing a starter at a position with little depth when the game is well out of reach? I think that Bill is playing with fire with this kind of stuff and he never gives the young guys any playing time...what gives?
Ty Fisher

Man, I can't wait to have a kid so I can start using them as an excuse for everything that's wrong in the world. Seriously? The Patriots scoring 56 points is ruining the youth of America? Are you being serious? Teenage girls are getting pregnant, kids are bringing guns to school and doing drugs at a young age but we're worried about Bill Belichick running up the score? I'm so sick and tired of this grandstanding bullcrap. There were supposed to be two NFL teams on the field Sunday night but instead, I saw one pro team and one high school team. If you are mad about the Patriots scoring so many points why don't you e-mail those other organizations and ask that they at least field a competitive team?

I have news for you my friend, the Patriots could have scored 80 points against both the Bills and Dolphins if they felt like it. I'm sorry the Patriots are ruining the youth of America. I know how many of them look to Belichick as a role model and how to act in every day life. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If your kid is looking to an NFL football coach on how to act, then you're a bad parent. I'm sorry but that's what I believe. Most of the time, good parenting produces good kids. Maybe it's just me but I really don't think Kyle Eckel scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter turns a good kid into a bad one. Oh, and I would like to see a list of these so-called "thousands of fathers" who are embarrassed by the Patriots. It's a football game. Give me a break.

The one argument that can be made about playing guys late into the fourth quarter is the one Ty brought up. I think that's a valid point. I sometimes find myself asking the same question when I see starters still in a 56-10 game. But this is how I look at it Ty. Bill Belichick wants to win more than anyone so if he's keeping his starters in, he has to be doing it for a reason. I just don't think he would risk a Super Bowl title just to stick it to the NFL and run up the score. Perhaps I'm being naive here but I just can't imagine Belichick risking the health of his players. I'm sure he has a reason for keeping his starters in and I'm sure he'll never tell us what that reason is.
-Tom Casale

If there is one sour note in otherwise most enjoyable season, is seeing Hobbs get beat on the long balls. The kid seems to have the right position on the receivers but just doesn't have the presence, technique, and perhaps height to compete for the ball. My question is, what about switching his position with Gay?
Larry Goldin

Although Ellis Hobbs is very good at returning kickoffs and fumbles, I think that his pass defense has regressed since last year. I really thought he would have a solid year in 2007, but he appears to be no better than a nickel back. With Samuel and Gay free agents this offseason, I am worried about loosing both and having only Hobbs to fall back on...yikes! What do you think will be the Pats strategy this offseason with the secondary?Shane C

I know a lot of people are frustrated with Ellis Hobbs but he is what he is. He's a No. 2 corner. I think because Hobbs is such a great talker that some people expect more from him. However, Hobbs does what most No. 2 corners in this league do: he makes some plays and gives up some plays. I'm not defending Hobbs' play by any means. I think he has been a little bit of a disappointment this season. But go look at all the other NFL teams and who they have as their second corner. When you do, you'll see that having Hobbs isn't all that bad. Besides, if the Patriots biggest problem is their second corner gets beat on occasion, I think they'll be OK.

And trust me, Randall Gay is a good slot corner but he would probably be getting beat as often as Hobbs because teams simply don't throw much to Asante Samuel's side anymore. Hey Hobbs isn't having a lights out year but luckily for the Patriots, if he gives up a touchdown, the offense gets it back 50 seconds later.
-Tom Casale

Maroney vs. Addai? Every team in NFL would have taken Maroney over Addai at the position he was drafted. Indy had to take a back with their pick and Addai was the only back left worthy of a first round pick. Shouldn't the Pats "coach up" Maroney, insist he pound some weights, and run like his former teammate Marion Barber? He seems to have talent but maybe he needs a [big?] push!
Frank Velluto

I know it's way too early to think about the 2008 draft, but with San Francisco looking worse every week it's looking more and more likely that the Pats will have a top 5 pick. To this point I've assumed that they'd probably try to trade down rather than pay the inflated top 5 pick salary, but I was reading a couple very early mock drafts that had the Pats staying put and taking McFadden. Do you think they're likely to stay put and take the best available player (even if its McFadden) or trade a few spots down if they can and get a guy like James Laurinaitis?
Kent Barnes

Frank, you are exactly right. At the time of the draft, Maroney was the right pick. And while I thought Addai would never be a great every-down back in the NFL, I was completely wrong. He's not just succeeding because he plays for the Colts. Addai has great vision, good power and is a very versatile back. He's a good player, period.

I know people are getting frustrated with Maroney and you can put me in that group. Here's my problem with Maroney: I think his dancing behind the line has to do with a lack of vision. I believe vision for a running back is their most important asset. It can't really be measured before the draft but it's kind of like pocket presence for a quarterback, all the great ones have it. It's also something that can't be taught. You can't teach a quarterback to have the pocket awareness that Tom Brady has, just like you can't teach a running back to have the vision of a LaDainian Tomlinson. I think Maroney will be a decent NFL runner, I'm just not sure he'll ever be a great one.

Speaking of great ones, I'm on the McFadden to the Patriots bandwagon if they sign both Moss and Samuel like I believe they will. Here's the thing. If the Patriots keep that pick, there are only a couple of positions they can go with that high because they're already so talented. Undefeated teams usually don't have the second selection in the draft. If you look at it, Maroney's total contract is $8.5 million and the rest of the backs on the roster don't cost that much. So drafting McFadden would actually be cost feasible for the Patriots. Plus, the guy is an absolute beast.

Look at what the Vikings did. They paid a lot of money to get Chester Taylor but they still drafted Adrian Peterson because he was so talented, they couldn't pass him up. I think the same thing us true with McFadden. People are going to tell you before the draft that the Patriots won't select McFadden because they took Maroney two years ago. That's garbage. If Maroney doesn't show some signs that he's ready to be the back of the future in New England, McFadden very well could be. Imagine this offense in 2008: Brady, Moss, Welker, Watson, McFadden, Morris, Maroney and the entire offensive line returning. I'm buying taking McFadden that high. I believe he's the best player available in the upcoming draft and he plays a position the Patriots will likely be looking to upgrade. Sign me up.
-Tom Casale

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